Sep 28, 2021 - Health

North Carolina hospital system fires 175 unvaccinated workers

Photo of a masked health care worker holding up a COVID vaccine needle

Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A North Carolina-based hospital system has fired roughly 175 unvaccinated employees for failing to comply with its vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: It's one of the largest-ever cases of mass terminations spurred by a vaccine requirement. Over 99% of its 35,000 employees have adhered to the mandate, according to Novant director of media and influencer relations Megan Rivers.

How it happened: Novant Health announced its vaccine policy for employees in July. The organization operates 15 hospitals and 800 clinics.

  • Last week, Novant suspended 375 workers without pay for not following the mandate.
  • They were given five days to get at least a first shot, which nearly 200 did by Friday, and will have until Oct. 15 to get fully vaccinated.

Our thought bubble, via Axios Charlotte's Michael Graff: The fact that they got to 99% is a testament to how suspensions really do make change.

  • Slowly, a lot of the employees’ pushback stopped when the employers showed they were serious about suspending people and taking away their paychecks.

What they're saying: "Less than 1% opted not to comply. We're proud of the 35,000+ team members who chose to participate in the vaccine mandate program with patient safety at forefront," Rivers tweeted.

The big picture: The courts have upheld private employers' right to issue vaccine mandates.

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