Governor Pritzker mandates vaccines for teachers and healthcare workers amongst reluctance to get the shot

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KWQC) - Starting on September 5th, all teachers and healthcare workers must have at least one dose of the vaccine or get tested once weekly, said Governor J.B. Pritzker in a press conference Thursday morning, stating, “if you are unvaccinated, you are getting the people in your care sick.”

It is a sentiment that officials with the Illinois Education Association say they are on board with.

“That’s for the safety of our kids. We want to make sure that they’re safe, that’s so important,” stated Kathi Griffin, President of the Association, adding that she would be “surprised” if any un-vaccinated teachers would be reluctant to take a weekly test.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations across the nation have peaked since August 22 at over 303 new cases, the largest since the pandemic started.

Despite Illinois being at 59 percent fully vaccinated--the largest in the Midwest--adults are being hospitalized all over the state due to the largest surge since spring.

“Right now we are seeing 220 people being admitted to the hospital everyday with COVID, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director for the Illinois Department of Health, “[the] last time we saw this high of a number was in May.”Dr. Ngozi Ezike

During the peak of the pandemic, the seven day rolling average for I-C-U beds in the state got to 15 percent. Now, Governor Pritzker says in largely un-vaccinated areas like southern Illinois, the rate is at 3 percent.

“I’m sure if people understood being unvaccinated could take a hospital bed from an accident victim they might go get vaccinated,” stated the Governor.

While a lot of people agree with the new mandate being put in place, many are still reluctant to get vaccinated, citing their rights. This, despite other vaccines, such as the Polio and Smallpox vaccine, having been mandated for decades.

“I don’t like it at all, it should be your choice whether you get the vaccine or not,” said Chris Rivett, an Illinois resident.

However, the governor stated that more mitigation efforts will be put in place if more hospital beds don’t start opening up, stating the tool to end the pandemic is vaccines and our “neighbors are not taking it.”

TV6 reached out to several school districts in the Quad Cities for reaction. The Moline School District was the only to respond, saying they need more time before they can comment.

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