HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Healthcare workers have one more week to get their COVID-19 vaccines. Just under 200 employees have yet to comply.
That number is significantly less than the 700 stragglers reported last week.
A Hartford Healthcare nurse spoke with News 8 a week ago, vowing not to get the vaccine due to her personal beliefs.
“My body, my choice,” said Liza Blanchett, who received a religious exemption.
The deadline to submit paperwork was last week. The health system said it has now suspended 176 workers who have refused to get vaccinated.
The final deadline is next Tuesday, Oct. 12.
“Otherwise they will be choosing a different type of carrier, at least in healthcare for Hartford Healthcare in [the] future…,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford Healthcare’s chief clinical officer.
In other words, they’ll be fired.
Still, the unvaccinated workers are outliers out of the system’s 4,000 clinical staff members. Almost 99% have gotten their shots.
Kumar said they have about 1,300 exemption requests, adding 56 to 57% of those are religious, less than 10% are medical and the rest are postponements for pregnancy and other related issues.
Hospital workers in the state’s other major healthcare systems are facing a similar choice.
Yale New Haven Health will be sending out termination letters on Oct. 18 to staff members who refuse the shot.
Hospital leaders say they are trying to keep their patients, employees and community safe.
“Vaccines remain the best protection we have in terms of reducing mortality and hospitalization,” Kumar said.