Mandates spur uptick in employee vaccinations: Early results from 5 Massachusetts hospitals, health systems

Mandates requiring COVID-19 vaccination at Massachusetts health systems have prompted many healthcare workers to get inoculated, although some are still holding off amid looming deadlines and threats of termination, The Boston Globe reported Oct. 15, citing information from hospital officials in the state.

Boston-based Mass General Brigham, the state's largest hospital system, is still processing documentation related to vaccination. However, as of the morning of Oct. 15, 97 percent of the system's 80,000 employees were vaccinated, spokesperson Bridget Perry said in a statement shared with Becker's.

About 1,900 employees have not been vaccinated or submitted documentation, Ms. Perry said. This includes about 800 per diem employees who do not have regular shifts or hours. Mass General Brigham continues to track about 1,100 employees who have standard hours of between 20-40 hours per week.  

Ms. Perry said employees who did not receive at least one dose by the Oct. 15 mandate deadline will be placed on unpaid leave and lose network access at the end of their shift on Oct. 20. Employees placed on leave won't regain access until documentation is provided showing the individual is compliant with Mass General Brigham's vaccination policy, she added. Employees who still have not received at least one dose by Nov. 5 will be terminated.

Another major hospital system, Springfield, Mass.-based Baystate Health, announced July 26 that employed team members — including those working remotely — as well as clinical staff, contractors, volunteers, students and those conducting business within the system would be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1. 

Baystate Health officials said more than 99 percent of its workforce received their shots by the Oct. 1 deadline, although 145 unvaccinated workers were placed on unpaid leave pending the Oct. 15 final deadline to get vaccinated or be terminated, according to The Boston Globe. In the end, Baystate Health said it fired 90 workers, including 52 per diem employees, who remained unvaccinated as of Oct. 15, the newspaper reported.

At Boston Medical Center, 97 percent of the hospital's 9,500 employees and faculty were in compliance with a vaccination mandate as of the afternoon of Oct. 15, hospital officials said, according to In a statement, the hospital said it expects that number to rise  as more documentation was filed Oct. 15; those who remain out of compliance will be terminated.

UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass., reported Oct. 14 that about 90 percent of its 16,500 employees were vaccinated, and that after Nov. 1, unvaccinated workers who do not have an approved exemption will be put on a two-week unpaid, suspended leave, according to, citing a memo sent to employees. Suspended workers will have until Nov. 15 to get at least a first dose. Employees who remain unvaccinated as of Dec. 1 and do not have an approved medical or religious exemption will be fired, according to UMass Memorial.

Beth Israel Lahey Health in Cambridge, Mass., said Oct. 15 that it is requiring workers to get their first shot by Oct. 31, the date previously set for workers to be fully vaccinated or be terminated, according to The Boston Globe. The system reported Oct. 15 that 93 percent of its 36,000 employees were vaccinated.

Read the full Boston Globe report here and the full report here.

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