Hospital systems in Massachusetts have started firing workers who refused to comply with coronavirus vaccine mandates.
New Bedford-based Southcoast Health fired 216 employees last week, a system spokesperson told The Herald News of Fall River.
Another 102 workers who had been placed on unpaid leave for missing a Nov. 15 vaccination deadline returned to work after showing proof of a first dose, spokesperson Katie Cox said. Those employees “will be tested regularly until they are fully vaccinated,” she said.
Another 151 Southcoast Health employees who have been granted religious or medical exemptions will also be tested regularly, she said.
Southcoast Health, with about 7,500 employees, operates Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River; St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford; Tobey Hospital in Wareham; and other facilities.
UMass Memorial Health fired more than 200 people who refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, a hospital representative said on Friday.
“We truly hoped that everyone would get the vaccine and stayed in the UMass Memorial family, but as a health care organization, we must protect our patients and other caregivers,” the representative said in a statement.
Worcester-based UMass Memorial, with about 15,000 employees, operates several hospitals in central Massachusetts.
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Nearly all hospitals in Massachusetts announced vaccine mandates for employees with deadlines in October and November.
Last week, the Supreme Court turned away an emergency appeal from employees at the largest hospital system in Massachusetts, Mass General Brigham, who object to the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds.