Texas Children’s Hospital will become the newest member of Texas Medical Center requiring a COVID-19 vaccine.

All of the nearly 13,000 Texas Children’s Hospital workforce members, including full-time employees, part-time employees, medical staff, per diem employees and contractors will be required to receive their first vaccine dose by 5 p.m. on Sept. 21, according to an Aug. 11 news release from Texas Children’s Hospital. If inoculated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the second dose must be received by 5 p.m. on Oct. 19.

Exemptions will be permitted for certain religious beliefs or medical conditions that may prevent an employee from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The ongoing surge of the delta variant, which put 375 new coronavirus-related patients in Texas Medical Center hospitals Aug. 11, prompted the vaccine mandate, according to the release.

“We recognize the profound and encouraging truth that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is safe, effective and the primary mechanism to combat this pandemic,” said Mark A. Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital in the news release. “By taking this step, we are further protecting the health of our team members, patients and community. As one of the nation’s largest and top-rated children’s hospitals, it is our responsibility to take a stand and protect those who place their trust in us, many of whom are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.”

Texas Children’s Hospital is one of the few children’s hospitals across the country that is helping in the effort to get children vaccinated against COVID-19. The hospital system has been hosting Pfizer’s Phases 2-3 trials for children under the age of 12. Meanwhile, it is expected that emergency use authorization for children ages 5-11 is also anticipated in the coming weeks following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of the trial data, according to the news release.

Texas Children’s Hospital’s vaccine mandate will be the fourth at Texas Medical Center, following Houston Methodist’s June requirement, and mandates at Memorial Hermann and Baylor College of Medicine.