Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system, said Monday it had fired 1,400 staff members who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The company said in a statement on Monday that it took a “rapid, aggressive approach” to reach 100 percent vaccination among its more than 76,000 employees.
“Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as 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,” a spokesperson for Northwell told Fox News. “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 allow the company to “provide exceptional care at all of our facilities, without interruption and remain open and fully operational.”
New York’s efforts to require more than 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers in the state to receive the shots went into effect last week, causing tens of thousands of employees to receive a vaccination at the 11th-hour. Still, some workers filed lawsuits that are winding their way through state court.
Those who decline to get vaccinated face suspensions and termination. Individuals terminated over vaccine refusal are not eligible for unemployment insurance without a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation. The New York Times reported that very few workers have left their jobs in the state over the mandate and that New York is not likely to see staff shortages as a result.
Eighty-seven percent of the state’s hospital workers have been vaccinated as of Monday, according to state data.