PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order on Wednesday that bans any local or state government entities in Arizona from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine.
The executive order does exempt government-licensed healthcare facilities from this ban.
The City of Tucson previously implemented a COVID-19 vaccine mandate with a December 1 deadline and has already reached near-total compliance from employees.
Following an order from President Biden, the City of Phoenix was planning on implementing a vaccine mandate. That mandate was put on pause after a federal judge blocked Biden's order.
The executive order comes as hospitals are reporting less than 500 open beds across Arizona. Health leaders have recently requested federal support from FEMA for staff in seven of Arizona's hospitals.
Governor Ducey says the state has not gotten a response from the White House on that request.
On Wednesday, Ducey authorized an additional $35.2 million to help hospitals with staffing and to provide more bed space, while criticizing the White House for a lack of response to the FEMA request.
Maricopa County is approaching one year since the first vaccination sites were set up to provide the COVID-19 vaccine.
In total, health officials say that 2.4 million people in Maricopa County have received at least one dose of the shot.