CVS Health mandates full COVID-19 vaccination for some employees

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FILE PHOTO: People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City

(Reuters) - Health conglomerate CVS Health Corp has mandated complete COVID-19 vaccination for its nurses, pharmacists and other employees who face patients, joining a string of U.S. firms seeking to slow the spread of the contagious Delta coronavirus variant.

The policy, announced on Monday, comes after the U.S. health regulator granted full authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE. The approval is expected to spur a string of similar mandates from corporate employers.

CVS said it would require all corporate staff to get fully vaccinated by October end and had asked recently hired employees to get their first COVID-19 shot before joining work.

The company, which operates one of the largest U.S. pharmacy chains, had said earlier this month that employees at its worksites were required to wear masks or face covers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Pharmacists at its retail stores will have until Nov. 30 to get fully vaccinated, the company had added.

Rival Walgreens Boots Alliance has said it is requiring staff at support offices to be fully vaccinated.

U.S. energy companies have already moved to require that employees receive vaccinations amid rising infection rates at home, with health surveys showing that energy workers remain among those most reluctant to get shots.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)