ARIZONA NEWS

Gov. Ducey order says state, county, city or town can’t mandate COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 16, 2021, 4:31 PM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order Wednesday that says the state, counties, cities or towns can’t mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees.

The nine-page order mostly deals with enhanced surveillance and monitoring to limit the spread of the virus but includes the provision, which came on the same day Banner Health — the state’s largest private employer — said it is running out of beds to care for patients and may need to start choosing who can receive care if hospitalization trends continue.

The order could have a direct effect on Tucson, which has required vaccination to continue employment with the city.

The Tucson City Council approved an ordinance in November that said city employees who haven’t received at least one shot of the vaccine and have not received an approved exception or accommodation by Dec. 1 could be fired.

About 99% of city employees had been at least partially vaccinated by the deadline.

Phoenix previously voted to require COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees, but paused the mandate Dec. 7 following a court ruling that temporarily blocked the requirement for all federal contract workers.

The city said 51% of its workers had submitted a completed vaccine card before the pause.

Arizona reported 2,911 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, just the third time in December that a daily case report was under 3,000.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID inpatients was 2,683 on Wednesday, down 40 from the previous day and the fewest since Dec. 1.

It was the sixth time in seven days with an overnight decrease of COVID inpatients, although the level remains near the top of the ongoing delta wave.

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Gov. Ducey order says state, county, city or town can’t mandate COVID-19 vaccine