(Natural News) Banner Health, a health system headquartered in Arizona, has announced that its more than 52,000 employees must be vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) by Nov. 1. Any worker who does not get vaccinated by that date will be fired.
Banner Health is Arizona’s largest health system. It operates 30 hospitals, including three academic medical centers, and dozens of other health facilities in Arizona and five other states: Wyoming, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado and California. It has around 45,000 employees in Arizona and 7,000 in the five other states.
The health system is the first in Arizona to publicly announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees. It told its employees about the vaccine mandate via email on Tuesday afternoon, July 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,” wrote the executives of the Arizona health system.
The health system said it will release more information about the vaccine mandate in the coming weeks, including a process by which employees can request an exemption. But the health system warned that its exemptions will be extremely limited.
The company already has an incentive program in place to entice its employees to get vaccinated. It is bribing workers with paid time off, reimbursement of travel costs and extra points toward the health system’s wellness program that offers discounts on health insurance.
Banner Health also has a lottery, with drawings taking place from July until August. Ten vaccinated employees will win $10,000 each.
Banner Health’s vaccine mandate is part of a national trend among healthcare systems implementing their own forced vaccination policies. Notable examples include the Houston Methodist Hospital system in Texas, which fired over 150 employees for refusing to get the vaccine. Three of Massachusetts’ largest hospital systems have also implemented vaccine mandates for their nearly 130,000 workers. (Related: Vaccine mandates in healthcare industry are growing, and they are expected to accelerate once FDA grants full approval.)