St. Luke’s Health issues COVID-19 vaccine requirement

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Registered nurse Morgan James loads a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at the Blood Bank of Alaska in Anchorage on March 19, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

HOUSTON (CW39) –  St. Luke’s Health is joining the list of health systems and associations across the country that require a COVID-19 vaccination for its workers.  The new requirement will be effective for all physicians, Advanced Practice Providers, volunteers, and others caring for patients within St. Luke’s Health facility.  

All the employees must be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021. 

“By requiring the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, just as we do with the flu (influenza) vaccine, St. Luke’s Health joins health systems and associations across the country in supporting vaccination for health care workers in an effort to continue protecting our patients, staff, and communities from this dangerous disease.”

St. Luke’s Health

Earlier this week, officials reported 10,000 covid-19 patients have been hospitalized for the first time since early February.  To help hospitals struggling to accommodate their covid-19 overflow, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has arranged for the deployment of 2,500 medical personnel.  It’s a part of a directive from Governor Abbott, which calls for DSHS to use staffing agencies to find out-of-state medical personnel. According to an announcement from Governor Abbott’s office, the first deployment will be fully funded by the state until September 30th

In the meantime, local leaders in the Houston area are adding to the growing list of challengers, going against Governor Abbott’s ban on mask mandates.  Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the county would require masks be worn inside public schools, non-religious private schools, and licensed childcare centers. On Thursday, she tweeted she authorized the Harris County Attorney to file a lawsuit challenging GA-38. Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, also filed a lawsuit asking a judge to strike down the mask mandate ban on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this developing report.

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