Arizona governor signs executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates for government employees

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Coronavirus vaccines (file)

Governor Doug Ducey has signed an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees, but healthcare institutions are exempt from the rule.

The governor issued an executive order on Dec. 15, stating “No person shall be required by this state, or any city, town or county to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine, but a health care institution licensed pursuant to A.R.S. Title 36, Chapter 4 may require the institution’s employees to be vaccinated.”

The order will not allow the state, counties or cities to implement requirements for their workers. It does, however, allow health care institutions to require vaccinations for their employees.

Ducey’s order comes one day after he announced more resources for Arizona hospitals that are dealing with staffing shortages and bed capacity.

The entire order, titled “Enhanced Surveillance Advisory,” mostly discusses increased monitoring of COVID-19 in nursing homes and a requirement for hospitals to continue providing sufficient staffing.

On Tuesday, 1,323,997 COVID-19 cases were reported in Arizona, along with 23,324 deaths.

The order also stated, “The continued spread of COVID-19 and the increase in cases during November 2021 resulted in space and staff constraints in Arizona’s hospitals, with fewer than 8% of intensive care unit (ICU) reported available for several days in November and COVID patients accounting for approximately 40% of all ICU beds in the state.”

On Dec. 14, Banner Health officials said their Arizona hospitals are being overwhelmed to a level not seen since the pandemic began – but it’s not just because of COVID-19 patients.

Phoenix-based Banner Health is at its most overwhelmed since the pandemic began, leading the company’s officials to issue a warning Tuesday that its hospital system may have to eventually choose who can receive care.

Some of Banner’s hospitals in one of Arizona’s largest health care systems are…