Biden coming back to Illinois, plans to encourage COVID-19 shots

President Joe Biden will make his second trip to Illinois since July, arriving in Chicago Wednesday to push COVID-19 vaccines with a focus on employers.

The president will "highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccine requirements for businesses," the White House said Thursday.

Biden on Sept. 9 introduced significant mandates for employers with more than 100 workers to require COVID-19 vaccines or weekly tests. He also instituted vaccinations at health care facilities accepting Medicare or Medicaid users, and for federal contractors.

The Democratic president's visit comes amid a series of COVID-19 vaccination mandates set by Gov. J.B. Pritzker for specific groups of workers, and it may help to shore up support among unions.

The governor is requiring certain state employees in congregate settings such as prisons to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and negotiations are ongoing with unions to set a timeline for inoculations.

Sunday was the first state deadline for Illinois health care employees, K-12 schoolteachers and staff, plus higher education personnel and students to get their initial dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Along with urging Illinoisans to get vaccinated, "I suspect he's going to talk about passing the infrastructure bill that is also critical for Illinois," U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat, said of the president.

"My understanding is that we're going to be voting next week on what the Senate passed in a bipartisan way and I hope the House will pass in a bipartisan way," he added referencing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

Biden came to Crystal Lake on July 7, stopping at McHenry County College for a tour and speech. It was his first visit to Illinois since the inauguration.

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