Vaccine Mandate FAQ

Gov. Pritzker Passes Vaccine/Testing Mandate for Health Care Workers: What You Need to Know

On Thursday, August 26, Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Ngozi Ezike announced vaccination requirements for individuals in high-risk settings, including health care workers, all pre-K through 12 teachers and staff, and higher education personnel and students. Employees in all of these settings who are unwilling or unable to receive the vaccine will be required to get tested for COVID-19 at least once per week.

Q: When should an employee be vaccinated?
A: A health care worker must have, at a minimum, the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 19 and be fully vaccinated within 30 days following administration of the first dose of a two-dose series. If they are not fully vaccinated by then, they will need to comply with the weekly testing requirement.

Q: What happens if the health care worker doesn't want to be vaccinated?
A: The employee would need to get tested weekly at a minimum for COVID-19, even if they qualify for an exemption. IDPH may require increased testing in certain situations. IOA will alert members if the testing requirement increases from once weekly. Additionally, practices may choose to require more frequent testing.

Q: Who is exempt from the requirement to be fully vaccinated?
A: Individuals are considered exempt if:

  1. Vaccination is medically contraindicated, including any individual who is entitled to an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other law applicable to a disability-related reasonable accommodation, or

  2. Vaccination would require the individual to violate or forgo a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.


Individuals who demonstrate that they are exempt from the vaccination requirement shall undergo, at a minimum, weekly testing for COVID-19.

Q: What test should health care workers take?
A: IDPH recommends that health care workers be tested using a PCR test if available.

Q: Who pays for the testing?
A: Free testing locations can be found on the IDPH website: https://dph.illinois.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-sites

Q: Can I test my employees in the office?
A: Yes. The tests must be done using a test that either has Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA or is operating per the Laboratory Developed Test requirements by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Q: Do IOA members have access to any testing supplies?
A: Yes! The IOA has partnered with a COVID-19 rapid testing company where members can purchase rapid saliva tests for their offices. More information can be found here

Q: What should we do with the proof of vaccination status/test results? Do we need to report it anywhere?
A: Keep proof of vaccine status or weekly negative test results in your personnel files. The Order notes that IDPH, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may promulgate rules to effectuate the Executive Order. IOA will send updates as any rules are issued.

Q: What should I do if a health care worker tests positive?
A: AOA has published guidance on what to do if a health care worker tests positive for COVID. Click here to read through the guidance.

Q: When is a health care worker considered fully vaccinated?
A: A healthcare worker is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Does the Executive Order apply to all employees in the office?
A: The term "health care worker" means any person who is employed by, volunteers for, or is contracted to provide services to a health care facility AND is in close contact (fewer than 6 feet) with other persons in the facility for more than 15 minutes at least once a week on a regular basis as determined by the health care facility.
The term health care worker does not include any person who is present at the facility for only a short period of time and whose moments of close physical proximity to others on site are fleeting (e.g. contractors entering a site to pick up a shipment).

Q: What if a health care worker refuses to comply with either the vaccination requirement or testing?
A: If a health care worker will not get vaccinated and is unwilling to comply with testing requirements, Section 2 c) of the Executive Order states that the health care facility shall exclude the health care worker from the premises for noncompliance.