New York’s largest private healthcare provider has fired 1,400 employees for refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19. A spokesperson for Northwell Health confirmed Monday that it "had to exit" 1,400 employees but mentioned that most of its employees opted to get vaccinated. After the mass parting with staff members, Northwell’s employees are currently 100% vaccinated.
"Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as health care professionals and members of the largest healthcare provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other," the spokesperson said. "We owe it to our staff, our patients, and the communities we serve to be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19."
The spokesperson said that having a fully vaccinated staff will permit Northwell to "provide exceptional care at all of our facilities, without interruption and remain open and fully operational."
"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," she said.
Last month New York began ramping up efforts for government workers and health care employees to get the vaccine. Hospitals and nursing homes in New York have started letting workers go for failure to meet a state-mandated deadline as Gov. Kathy Hochul implored people to get vaccinated.
"To those who have not yet made that decision, please do the right thing," Hochul said at a press briefing. "A lot of your employers are anxious to just give you the jab in the arm and say you’re part of the family, we need your help to continue on."
Employees choosing to forgo the vaccine are subject to suspensions and termination. Workers terminated for refusing to get the vaccine are not eligible for unemployment insurance without a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.