Most Banner Health employees will be required to be vaccinated by November

(Source: Banner Health)
(Source: Banner Health)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:05 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS  5) -- Starting Nov. 1, most employees with Banner Health will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on condition of employment.

On Monday, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra signed a renewal of the determination that a “public health emergency” exists due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a press release from the medical group, the decision was made to “protect patients, team members, and the community.” There will be limited exceptions, but all team members have until Nov. 1 to be fully vaccinated. The release did not detail what the exceptions would be.

“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 care environment,” said Peter Fine, president and CEO for Banner Health, in a company-wide email on Jul. 20. “We are taking this step to reduce risk for our patients, their families, visitors, and each other. Safety is an absolute top priority, and the COVID vaccine mandate reflects that commitment. The vaccine data has fully supported the safety and efficacy to prevent disease and reduce its severity. There is overwhelming evidence for us to act on behalf of the communities that rely on us to care for and protect them.”

Banner Health plans to implement this requirement for several reasons, including the rise of the Delta variant, the pending life of the Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, the decision to protect its patients and workforce, and prepare for the upcoming flu season. According to Banner officials, national data shows that 97% of current hospitalizations and 99% of COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated.

Banner Health states it will release more information in the coming weeks, including an exemption request process. Banner Health employs roughly 52,000 team members and is the largest private employer in the state of Arizona. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the country’s largest nonprofit health care systems.

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