Oct 4, 2021 - Health

New York's largest health care provider fires 1,400 unvaccinated workers

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at Northwell Health South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, New York. Photo: Johnny Milano/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Northwell Health, New York's largest hospital system, announced Monday that it fired 1,400 workers for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Driving the news: The state's vaccine mandate for health workers went into effect last week.

  • State of play: Northwell Health said it took a "rapid, aggressive approach" to reach 100% vaccination among its staff, the company said in a statement Monday.
  • Doing so would enable them to “provide exceptional care at all of our hospitals, without interruption and enable all our facilities to remain open and fully operational."
  • The company employees more than than 76,000 workers, the New York Times reports.
  • As of Monday, 87% of the state's 450,000 hospital workers have been vaccinated, according to the latest state data.
  • Other hospital systems around the country have faced similar dilemmas. Last week a North Carolina hospital system fired 175 unvaccinated workers for failing to comply with the state vaccine mandate.

What they're saying: "[H]aving a fully vaccinated workforce is an important measure in our duty to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve," Northwell Health's vice president of public relations Barbara Osborn said the statement.

  • "[A]s health care professionals and members of the largest health care provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other."

The big picture: 63.9% of New York's total population has been fully vaccinated, according to the state's COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

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