PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix Children's Hospital on Friday confirmed that all staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1.
"As an organization dedicated to providing hope, healing and the best healthcare for children and their families, it’s essential that we create the safest environment possible for the children we are privileged to serve," PCH said in a statement to Arizona's Family. "Leading health authorities have consistently recommended that healthcare facilities have more stringent COVID precautions than other organizations. We have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in our community and evaluating our policies designed to keep patients, families and staff safe. As a result, all staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Phoenix Children’s is proud that a majority of our staff is already fully vaccinated, and we will support remaining employees with becoming vaccinated ahead of the deadline."
Other health care facilities requiring vaccines
The PCH deadline is a full month ahead of those set by other health facilities that have announced similar decisions. HonorHealth and Banner Health also are requiring their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. HonorHealth and Banner Health have made their vaccination deadlines Nov. 1.
Hours after the announcement from PCH, Sonora Quest Laboratories said it would require some of its employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 1. It does not seem to be a blanket requirement covering every employee. In a news release, Sonora Quest specifically mentioned "employees who have direct patient interactions or regularly work at a Banner Health facility."
COVID-19 on the rise in Arizona
Sonora Quest said it ran 25% more diagnostic tests for COVID-19 during the week of July 18 than the week of July 11. Of the 33,000 tests run last week, 15% of them were positive, according to the lab. Arizona's average positivity rate for July is 11%, more than double June's 5%.
All of these announcements about mandatory vaccines at health care facilities came as COVID-19 continues to spread, impacted by the rise of several variants that are increasing the severity and transmissibility of this infection. Those who remain unvaccinated appear to be the most vulnerable to the Delta variant of virus that is fueling the latest rise in confirmed cases.