Methodist Health System, Cook Children’s Medical Center and Texas Health Resources have added themselves to the list of hospitals requiring COVID-19 vaccines for employees.
The health systems said in news releases that employees, including providers, are required to have the COVID-19 vaccine to continue work.
Texas Health Resources is requiring employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 10. Cook Children’s, which has recently seen a spike in child COVID-19 cases, will require all employees and providers to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 27. Methodist said all employees and providers have until Oct. 1 to become fully vaccinated.
Cook Children’s said in the release it currently has 24 children being treated for COVID-19, with positive cases across the health care system at 11.3% over the past week. That figure was at 1% June 2.
The decisions come within a week of Baylor Scott & White’s announcement that all employees and providers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1.
All of the hospitals pointed to the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus as the primary reason for the mandate.
As with mandates for flu vaccines, hospitals are making exemptions based on religious and medical grounds.
As an extra incentive for employees to get vaccinated, Methodist Health System is offering full-time employees a $500 bonus to be distributed after the Oct. 1 deadline. Part-time employees will receive a $250 bonus, according to the release from that hospital.
Cook Children’s employees must be fully vaccinated with two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.
Texas Health Resources said in its news release that the mandate “is a crucial step to fighting the surging Delta variant and will protect both patients and caregivers.”
Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan said the mandate is a proactive step in preventing the spread of the virus.
Some health care providers don’t have the option to require the vaccines.
A spokesperson for the University of North Texas Health Science Center said it encourages everyone to get vaccinated but cannot require it under an executive order preventing state agencies from requiring vaccinations. While there is a clinic at the Health Science Center, students, providers and employees working in that clinic cannot be required by the center to get a vaccine.
Students working at hospitals that require the vaccine will, however, be required to get the vaccine. All area hospitals that have announced vaccine mandates have included students in the mandate.