Chicago to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for City Workers, Lightfoot Says

The news came on the same day as the U.S. granted full approval for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

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The city of Chicago will soon instate a vaccine requirement for city employees, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday, however the city has yet to negotiate the specifics with workers' unions.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, the mayor said discussions with labor unions have been "going on for a couple of weeks" and announcements will be made "in the coming days."

"We absolutely have to have a vaccine mandate, it's for the safety of all involved, particularly members of the public who are interacting with city employees on a daily basis," Lightfoot said. "It's important for colleagues to also feel like they have a workplace that is safe."

The news of an upcoming mandate for the thousands of city employees came on the same day as the U.S. granted full approval for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

With the nation seeing a surge in cases of the Delta variant, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this month announced vaccine requirements for employees of state-run congregant care facilities, including veterans’ homes and correctional facilities.

“By and large, residents of these state-run facilities have done what they can do to protect themselves by getting vaccinated,” he said at the time. “And yet, many of the long-term care facilities’ employees have not been vaccinated.”

State agencies will be required to make the vaccine readily available to employees, and negotiations remain ongoing with unions about implementation of the new requirements.

Last week, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a mandatory vaccination policy for county workers, saying it's "the pragmatic and responsible thing to do as we work to put the pandemic behind us." County employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15, according to a news release.

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