Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Reissues Executive Order Banning Local Vaccine Mandates

Local governments in Arizona will not be able to establish vaccine mandates under a renewed executive order.

Gov. Doug Ducey extended an executive order banning state, city, town, and county entities from requiring anyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The only exception to this rule is health care workers, who will continue to be expected to be vaccinated. This renewal comes after Ducey allocated an additional $25.2 million to help alleviate staffing and bed shortages at hospitals around the state.

One city already plans to defy the executive order. The Tucson City Council had already mandated that all of their employees be vaccinated unless their exemption or accommodation was approved. Around 99 percent of city employees are vaccinated.

"Arizona Attorney General Brnovich already told the Governor what he doesn't want to hear. He has no authority to preempt local actions through executive orders," said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. "The governor needs to focus on the crisis at hand as COVID-19 cases rise. He can't say that he's for public health and tie the hands of cities and counties as the pandemic surges to record levels and hospital ICU beds dwindle."

Instead of banning vaccine mandates, Romero urged Ducey to be more proactive in protecting citizens from COVID-19, especially in the midst of the Omicron variant. In her statement, Romero said that "the governor needs to focus on the crisis at hand as COVID-19 cases rise. He can't say that he's for public health and tie the hands of cities and counties as the pandemic surges to record levels and hospital ICU beds dwindle."

Nearly 4.6 million people in Arizona have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, whereas 3.9 million of that number are fully vaccinated. Arizona's current population is nearly 7.3 million people.

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People wait after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination at State Farm Stadium on Feb. 11, 2021, in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

It's a small part of a nine-page order signed Wednesday that largely deals with surveillance and monitoring of health care institutions during the pandemic.

Ducey in August issued an executive order barring the state and local governments from requiring vaccines, based on an existing public health law.

Phoenix also mandated employee vaccinations but the city and at least one university have since paused their mandates after a court blocked the Biden administration's mandate that federal contractors require employee vaccinations.

Ducey's office did not announce the latest order, which was reported by local news outlets.

Arizona on Friday reported 3,686 additional virus cases and 143 more deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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In this Dec. 2, 2020, file photo, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a press conference in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File