In North Carolina, 175 Unvaccinated Health Care Workers Fired

In one of the largest such mass firings yet
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2021 12:30 AM CDT
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:07 AM CDT
In North Carolina, 175 Unvaccinated Hospital Employees Fired
In this Sept. 18, 2021, file photo, protesters opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates hold a rally in front of City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

In what the Washington Post says is one of the largest mass terminations to date over a workplace vaccine mandate, a North Carolina hospital system on Monday announced that about 175 unvaccinated employees had been fired. Last week, 375 employees who had not yet complied with the health care system's vaccine mandate were suspended and given five days to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 200 of them did. The system employs 35,000 people, and a spokesperson says nearly 99% of them had already complied with the mandate and that the percentage is now over 99%. Some employees do have religious or medical exemptions, and they are required to get tested for COVID weekly. Employees have until Oct. 15 to get their second dose and remain in compliance.

Houston Methodist, one of the first health care systems to mandate the vaccine, lost 153 unvaccinated employees in June to firings or resignations; ChristianaCare in Delaware also recently fired 150 employees for the same reason. New York's statewide mandate for health care workers is now in effect, and CNN reports hundreds of unvaccinated employees were suspended Tuesday and could soon be terminated. In NY hospitals and nursing homes, 92% of staffers have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine; the percentage is 89% for adult care facilities. Connecticut's vaccine mandate for state employees and certain other workers also went into effect Monday, per NBC Connecticut; in Maine, health care workers have one month to comply with a vaccine mandate, per WGME; and in Ohio/Kentucky, workers at St. Elizabeth Healthcare are fighting a mandate, the Enquirer reports.

Many more mandates are still expected, and it's not just health care workers affected: United Airlines is laying off almost 600 unvaccinated employees, it announced Tuesday. That's less than 1% of the company's workforce, the Hill reports. Delta Air Lines is charging unvaccinated employees a $200 monthly health premium surcharge, while American and Southwest have taken no action other than recommending vaccines for workers. And the Massachusetts State Police union says dozens of troopers plan to resign over that state's vaccine mandate for state employees, CBS News reports. (Read more vaccine mandate stories.)

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