AKRON, Ohio — Just three weeks after officials within the Akron Children's Hospital confirmed that unvaccinated workers had been placed on unpaid leave, 66 caregivers have now been let go in conjunction with the hospital's COVID vaccine mandate.
Chief Operating Officer Lisa Aurilio said in a statement provided to 3News that the group represents a small percentage of the hospital's employees and that the hospital maintains that the policy is the best way to provide care to a "vulnerable" population.
“As of today (2/3/22), Akron Children’s Hospital has 66 employees who are non-compliant with our new COVID-19 vaccination policy. This represents less than 1 percent of our workforce, a rate consistent with other free-standing children’s hospitals nationwide implementing similar policies,” said Lisa Aurilio, chief operating officer. “We are hopeful that number will decrease as additional employees have indicated a willingness to comply, and we are willing to work with them. We are sorry to lose employees who have chosen to end their employment rather than comply. A vaccinated workforce is the best protection we can offer our patients, especially those who are most vulnerable, and is the best way to move beyond the pandemic.”
In mid-January, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a vaccine-or-test mandate proposed by the Biden Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for companies with 100 or more employees. The nine justices did however leave in place a vaccine mandate for a majority of healthcare workers in the country, with some exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
Other Northeast Ohio hospital systems have also taken action to push forward COVID-19 vaccine mandates for frontline workers. University Hospitals recently announced that they are giving all unvaccinated workers until Feb. 14 to receive a first dose of a COVID vaccine, and until March 15 to be fully vaccinated.
On Jan. 27, the Cleveland Clinic announced that nearly 750 workers had not complied and were being placed on unpaid leave, effective immediately.
"We are proud that the vast majority of our caregivers chose to comply with the mandate. In fact, 99% of our more than 65,000 U.S. employees complied with the CMS rule by either receiving the vaccine or being granted an approved exemption. Approximately 750 caregivers were not compliant and were placed on an unpaid leave of absence," the Clinic told 3News in a statement.
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