Valleywise Health to require COVID-19 vaccinations for staff
PHOENIX — Valleywise Health announced Wednesday all staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, joining several Arizona hospital systems that have implemented the measure.
The hospital system’s approximately 4,000 employees, including remote workers and those who don’t work directly with patients, must be vaccinated by Nov. 1, according to a press release.
“We care for populations hardest hit by the pandemic and we have a responsibility to take every measure possible to ensure the safest care environment,” Steve Purves, president and CEO, said in the release.
“The evidence is compelling and clear: Available vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, especially the severe illness and death it can cause.”
There will be limited exceptions for religious and medical reasons, according to Valleywise.
The taxpayer-funded hospital system serving Maricopa County is the fifth health care provider to announce a COVID-19 vaccine requirement in the past month.
Banner Health, Arizona’s largest hospital system, announced on July 20 it will require employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 1.
Three days later, Honor Health updated its policy to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment by Nov. 1.
Phoenix Children’s and Sonora Quest Laboratories said on July 30 their staffs will be required to be vaccinated.
All Phoenix Children’s employees will have to be vaccinated by Oct. 1.
The Sonora Quest mandate is for employees who have direct patient interactions or who work regularly at Banner Health facilities and will go into effect Nov. 1.
The growing push for vaccines comes as the delta variant drives case and hospitalization numbers in the state to their highest levels in months.
Health officials say that nearly all of the serious illnesses and deaths from COVID-19 are among people who aren’t vaccinated.
Valleywise Health opened a second COVID-19 unit last week to care for patients.