Texas Health Resources will require its more than 23,000 employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by Sept. 10, the faith-based nonprofit health system announced in an email to its employees Friday morning. 

The email, which the Fort Worth Report obtained, notes the requirement also applies to anyone who works at a Texas Health Resources location — including new hires, volunteers, students, vendors and contractors. Employees may submit a request for an exemption for medical or religious reasons by early August. 

The decision echoes mandates by Baylor Scott & White Health and Methodist Health System made Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, requiring their own employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 1. The three decisions mean that, together, employees in dozens of hospitals in North Texas must be vaccinated by October. 

The requirements come amid rising COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County, the state and across the country, as well as a more than 500% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Tarrant County the past two months. The highly infectious delta variant of the novel coronavirus, along with relaxed protective measures, has spurred the uptick. 

One of the first major healthcare systems nationwide to do so, Houston Methodist Hospital announced its own vaccine employment requirement for its employees back in April. More than 150 hospital workers resigned or were fired after refusing to obey, but not before filing an employee lawsuit over the mandate. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in early June.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released guidance in May noting that employers can require employees to be vaccinated, as long as they provide reasonable accommodations that reflect the ADA, which protects people with disabilities, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects people against employment discrimination based on race, religion and sex, among other things. 

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based nonprofit health systems in the country, according to its website.

Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact her by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Alexis AllisonHealth Reporter

Alexis Allison covers health for the Fort Worth Report. When she can, she'll slip in an illustration or two. Allison is a former high school English teacher and hopes her journalism is likewise educational....

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