Kaiser suspends 2,200 unvaccinated employees

Kaiser Permanente had placed just over 2,200 employees on unpaid leave as of Oct. 4 for failing to comply with the system's COVID-19 vaccination requirements. 

Kaiser announced the vaccination mandate in early August, and gave employees and physicians until Sept. 30 to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or apply for medical or religious exemption. Seventy-eight percent of the system's employees and physicians were vaccinated as of Aug. 2, and that number has since risen to more than 92 percent.

The suspended employees make up less than 1 percent of the Oakland, Calif.-based health system's nearly 240,000-person workforce. Kaiser said the number of employees on administrative leave is declining daily as more workers comply with the mandate. 

Employees have until Dec. 1 to receive their vaccination and return to work. 

"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," Kaiser said in a statement. "We will continue to work with this group of employees to allay concerns and educate them about the vaccines, their benefits, and risks." 

Dozens of hospitals and health systems across the nation have lost workers due to vaccination mandates, but most organizations have seen less than 2 percent of workers depart.

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