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Pritzker extends shot deadline; CTA workers must get shots

September 3, 2021 GMT
An information sign is displayed at a department store in Rosemont, Ill., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois announced on Thursday a new, stricter set of coronavirus restrictions, ordering a statewide indoor mask mandate and requiring that all educators be vaccinated or face regular testing. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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An information sign is displayed at a department store in Rosemont, Ill., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois announced on Thursday a new, stricter set of coronavirus restrictions, ordering a statewide indoor mask mandate and requiring that all educators be vaccinated or face regular testing. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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An information sign is displayed at a department store in Rosemont, Ill., Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois announced on Thursday a new, stricter set of coronavirus restrictions, ordering a statewide indoor mask mandate and requiring that all educators be vaccinated or face regular testing. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike are giving people in high-risk settings another two weeks to receive an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they announced Friday.

All health care workers including nursing home employees, all education teachers and staff from kindergarten through college and higher education students are now be required to receive an initial dose of the vaccine by Sept. 19. The extension came at the request of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and leaders of education groups, they said.

“While hospitals and schools move forward in good faith, this extension ensures they are prepared to meet this requirement to better protect our most vulnerable residents and children who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated,” Pritzker said.

“We recognize that some institutions will need additional time in which to establish procedures that will guarantee they are compliant,” Ezike said. “Our primary goal is to make sure that healthcare workers, education employees and students are protected, along with their families and communities, and this extension will help us achieve that goal.”

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Pritzker announced the vaccine requirement on Aug. 26.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Transit Authority announced all of its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 25.

“From the onset of the pandemic, the CTA has been an essential service provider for the City of Chicago, and our number one priority has been and always will be the health and well-being of our employees and customers,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a statement.

“In order for us to continue safely serving the Chicago area, it is now time for the remainder of our workforce to join the nearly 200 million Americans who are fully-vaccinated to help fight off these variants and protect our loved ones and others who cannot be vaccinated,” Carter said.

Employees who do not provide proof of vaccination by the Oct. 25 deadline will face discipline in accordance with the CTA guidelines, the agency said.