Banner Health becomes the latest hospital system to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID

Arizona’s largest health system, Banner Health, is the latest to demand its 52,000 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or fired by Nov.

  • Banner Health, Arizona’s largest health system, with 52,000 employees, requires a COVID-19 vaccine by November 1 or you risk being fired
  • There will be “limited exceptions” but a company-wide email failed to explain which criteria apply
  • Officials say the vaccine will be made mandatory for several reasons, the rise of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant and it expects the vaccines to be fully approved soon
  • Several hospitals require COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, including Houston Methodist, NewYork-Presbyterian and Trinity Health

Banner Health, Arizona’s largest hospital system, has become the latest to require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The nonprofit health system requires its 52,000 employees in six states to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 or risk being fired.

Officials said there will be “limited exceptions” to the mandate, but have not worked out what criteria apply.

“We care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and we owe it to them to take every measure possible to ensure the safest environment of care,” wrote Dr. Peter Fine, president and CEO of Banner Health, in a company-wide email sent on July 20.

“We are taking this step to reduce the risk to our patients, their families, visitors and each other. Safety is an absolute top priority and the COVID vaccine mandate reflects that commitment.”

Banner has an incentive incentive program to encourage employees to get vaccinated paid time off, reimbursement or travel and points to the wellness program for health insurance discounts.

Banner Health, Arizona’s largest health system, with 52,000 employees, requires a COVID-19 vaccine by November 1 or you risk being fired

Banner, who already requires employees to get the flu shot, said it is making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for several reasons, including the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The average COVID-19 in Arizona has risen to 1,080 per day, from 565 per day from two weeks ago, a 91 percent increase, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Arizona has reported a test positivity rate of 14 percent, up five percent in June, which is close to last November’s numbers.

Meanwhile, daily vaccinations have fallen from a record high of 78,000 per day in April to around 4,000 per day in July.

Meanwhile, the Delta variant makes up 36 percent of all new cases in the state.

Officials said they are also making the vaccine mandatory as it expects full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

“The vaccine data has fully supported its safety and efficacy to prevent disease and reduce its severity,” the company-wide email read.

“There is overwhelming evidence for us to act on behalf of the communities who rely on us to care for and protect them.”

The federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in December 2020 that employers can set legally mandated vaccine requirements for their employees.

The Houston Methodist hospital system in Texas became the first in the US to impose a vaccine requirement for the coronavirus in April.

Officials say the vaccine is being made mandatory for several reasons: the rise of India's 'Delta' variant, which has led to a 91% rise in cases in the past two weeks

Officials say the vaccine is being made mandatory for several reasons: the rise of India’s ‘Delta’ variant, which has led to a 91% rise in cases in the past two weeks

Daily vaccinations have fallen from a record high of 78,000 a day in April to about 4,000 a day in July

Daily vaccinations have fallen from a record high of 78,000 a day in April to about 4,000 a day in July

More than 150 workers resigned or were fired at the end of June after refusing to receive the vaccine.

Since then, several major academic centers such as NewYork-Presbyterian and Yale New Haven and major chains such as Trinity Health have imposed vaccine mandates.

New York City will require all health workers in city-run hospitals to be vaccinated or tested weekly.

Currently, all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the US have emergency use clearance from the FDA and are pending further trials to gain full approval.

The vaccines are allowed as long as the country remains in a state or emergency related to COVID-19, which will be until March 2022 on the current schedule.

Vaccine suppliers must submit six months of clinical data to the FDA for full approval, and the application to gain full approval often takes six months to review.

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