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Chicago Won’t Require Residents To Get Coronavirus Vaccines, Top Doc Says

It's possible individual businesses will require employees to get vaccinated, or people might need to prove they're vaccinated to travel, Dr. Allison Arwady said.

Jada Johnson receives her COVID-19 vaccine from Armando Ambriz, medical assistant, in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood on Feb. 19, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The city will not require residents to get vaccinated against coronavirus, Chicago’s top doctor said Tuesday.

Officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to mandate residents get vaccinated against COVID-19 — but Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, doubled down on that when asked about mandates Tuesday.

“I do not see a setting where the city of Chicago would say, ‘All Chicago residents, you need to be vaccinated,'” Arwady said at a news conference. “I do not see that coming at any point, to be clear.”

It’s possible individual businesses will require employees to get vaccinated, Arwady said. She said she is “supportive of employers exploring these possibilities.”

Case in point: Chicago Public Schools administrators have asked to be allowed to require their employees to get COVID-19 vaccines — though they do not plan to impose that for now.

Arwady said it’s also possible people may need to get vaccinated to be allowed to travel to some places.

It’s unlikely any group will impose a mandate at this point, as vaccines are still only approved under Emergency Use Authorization by the federal government, supply is still extremely limited and not everyone is eligible to be vaccinated yet, Arwady said.

But Arwady said she supports groups wanting to understand if a person has been vaccinated, and she thinks that’s important.

“I think the conversation remains very open related to COVID vaccine,” she said. As the vaccines get full authorization, she expects to “see more conversations like this.”

Still, Arwady has previously said she hopes everyone who is medically able to get vaccinated will do so for their own safety and the safety of others.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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