Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest health care systems in the United States, has placed about 2,200 unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave nationwide because of the company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
The employees who were suspended represent more than 1 percent of the firm’s workforce as the company employs around 216,000 people nationwide. They have until Dec. 1 to be vaccinated in order to return to work, the firm said in an Oct. 5 statement.
“More than 92 percent of our employees have been vaccinated—and the number continues to grow,” Kaiser stated, adding that as of Oct. 4, employees who have “not responded to our vaccine requirement” were placed on unpaid administrative leave.
“We hope none of our employees will choose to leave their jobs rather than be vaccinated, but we won’t know with certainty until then,” the Oakland, California-based company stated. “We will continue to work with this group of employees to allay concerns and educate them about the vaccines, their benefits, and risks.”
Several other large hospital systems have issued similar directives in recent days.
On Oct. 4, New York-based Northwell Health announced it had terminated 1,400 workers because they didn’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine, coming as a mandate issued by the New York governor’s office came into effect for health care workers.
“Northwell believes that having 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,” the health care system stated. “This allows us to continue to provide exceptional care at all of our facilities, without interruption and remain open and fully operational.”
While it “regrets losing any employee under such circumstances,” Northwell argued that it owes “it to our staff, our patients, and the communities we serve to be 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19.”
A hospital system that serves four states in the southeastern United States said in late September it terminated more than 100 employees over its vaccine mandate.
“They will have an opportunity to comply over a five-day, unpaid suspension period,” North Carolina-based Novant Health stated, announcing that 175 workers were fired. “If a team member remains non-compliant after this suspension period, he or she will have their employment with Novant Health terminated.”
At United Airlines, about 96 percent of employees have been vaccinated under a mandate. About 3 percent sought an exemption, and fewer than 1 percent will be fired, the company has stated.
Kaiser Permanente officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.