Northern Arizona Healthcare to require COVID-19 vaccination for employees
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH), the parent company of Flagstaff Medical Center and Verde Valley Medical Center, announced Sept. 13 it will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all of its employees.
“Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and facing another surge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, NAH has made the important decision to require its full workforce to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” the organization said in a press release.
According to NAH, the decision is consistent with NAH’s mission and follows significant study, discussion and consideration. Employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31. The hospital said there will be a process for individuals to apply for certain medical and religious exemptions.
“Providing the safest environment for those who come to us for care, as well as for our colleagues, is how we live up to the trust our communities place in us. The rising threat of more damage to be done by the Delta and other variants on the horizon has made it clear that the time is now to take action,” said Flo Spyrow, Northern Arizona Healthcare’s president and chief executive officer. “The overwhelming evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective supports this, enabling us to protect our patients and colleagues, and ultimately slowing the spread of this deadly virus in our communities.”
According to NAH, the decision was made before President Joe Biden’s announcement that staff within Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities be required to be COVID-19 vaccinated.
“Although many may disagree with this action from the President, we can all agree that there is no higher priority than patient health and safety,” the organization stated. “NAH is proud to have made this decision in its own and proactive consideration of all whom count on the organization for care.”
An exemption process is available for NAH employees who have a medical reason or sincerely held religious belief that preclude them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Northern Arizona Healthcare has similar vaccination requirements for employees to be protected from viruses like influenza.
NAH said the announcement also aligns with the Center for Disease Control, Coconino County Health Department, Yavapai County Health Department and other governing organizations across the state of Arizona whom have strongly recommended COVID-19 vaccine requirements for everyone.
"Currently, about 80 percent of NAH colleagues have indicated that they have already become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or intend to receive the vaccination," NAH said.
Additionally, NAH has many initiatives planned to support employees choosing to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31.
In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, Northern Arizona Healthcare continues to follow other safety measures to prevent the virus’ spread, including requiring masks in all buildings, limiting visitation, and reducing capacity in public spaces to encourage physical distancing.
For the latest COVID information, including the NAH COVID-19 dashboard visit www.nahealth.com/COVID-19.
NAH said details about the exemption request process will be shared with employees this week.
NAH is inclusive of Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center — Sedona Campus, Northern Arizona Healthcare — Camp Verde Campus, Northern Arizona Healthcare — Village of Oak Creek, Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group, the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, Northern Arizona Healthcare Orthopedic Surgery Center, EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine, Weight Management Clinic, Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group — Cardiology, Guardian Air and Guardian Medical Transport.
Information provided by Northern Arizona Healthcare