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Northwell Health Fires 1,400 Unvaccinated Employees

Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health care provider, announced on Monday that it had fired 1,400 of its employees who refused to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

New York’s effort to require the state’s more than 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers to get vaccinated went into effect last week, prompting tens of thousands of employees who had held out to get their shots. But others filed a flurry of lawsuits, and courtrooms across the state are determining when and how to allow exemptions to the mandate.

So far the number of workers who have walked away from their jobs is relatively small, and not likely to result in the staff shortages that have imperiled harder-hit parts of the country during the Delta variant’s rise.

The same holds true for Northwell, which employs more than 76,000 people. In a statement, Northwell said that vaccinating 100 percent of its employees would allow the provider to “provide exceptional care at all of our hospitals, without interruption and enable all our facilities to remain open and fully operational.”

“Northwell has taken a rapid, aggressive approach to move successfully toward full vaccination compliance while maintaining continuity of care and ensuring that our high standard of patient safety is not compromised in any way,” the statement continued. “Regretfully, we have had to exit 1,400 employees, but we are pleased to report that most team members have chosen to be vaccinated.”