Valley Children's Hospital makes COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all employees

For those granted exemptions on medical or religious grounds, weekly COVID-19 testing will be required.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- All Valley Children's Hospital employees will soon be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The hospital made the announcement about the new mandate in a statement on Monday, joining a growing list of companies, government agencies, and medical providers - including Kaiser Permanente, which made a similar announcement just hours before.

RELATED: Kaiser Permanente mandating COVID-19 vaccine for employees and physicians

Effective September 21, all staff, physicians, vendors, and those conducting business in Valley Children's Hospital facilities must be vaccinated against the virus, a statement from Todd Suntrapak, the president and CEO of Valley Children's Healthcare said.

"A large percentage of our patient population is below the current age to receive the vaccination, increasing their vulnerability in transmitting or contracting COVID-19. We have a special obligation to care for them," the statement added.

Officials say physicians and employees may be exempted on religious or medical ground, but not vendors. For those granted exemptions, weekly COVID-19 testing will be required.

As the deadly delta variant spreads rapidly in the Central Valley and across the U.S., health officials and medical staff are struggling to keep up with the surge in cases, especially among those unvaccinated.

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