The largest nonprofit hospital system in Texas will require that employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Baylor Scott & White Health will require all employees to receive either both doses of Moderna or Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s by Oct. 1 unless granted an exemption, it said in an emailed statement.
The policy applies to all employees, providers, volunteers, vendors, students and contract staff.
“With rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts due to the highly contagious Delta variant and the start of the flu season fast approaching, we believe now is the right time to take the next step in achieving a fully vaccinated workforce,” Baylor Scott & White said.
“The Delta variant is the most contagious and dangerous strain we have seen to date, leading to exponentially increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization. The overwhelming majority of these cases are among the unvaccinated,” the company continued.
Baylor Scott & White’s system includes more than 52 hospitals and over 800 patient care sites, the company says on its website. It employs more than 49,000 people.
The move comes amid rising calls to mandate vaccines as delta variant drives an increase in coronavirus infections, particularly in areas with lower vaccination rates.
According to The Dallas Morning News, at least 70 other hospitals in the country have mandated vaccinations since Houston Methodist did so in April.
The American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and more than 50 other health care groups issued a statement on Monday calling for COVID-19 vaccines to be mandated for hospital workers.
The groups said in part that such mandate is the “logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being."