Hospitals preparing to potentially terminate employees who don’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With Thursday’s vaccination deadline looming for hospital employees, Hartford Healthcare, Trinity Health of New England, and Yale New Haven Health all report the majority of their workers have gotten at least one shot. But there are still some holdouts.

Hartford HealthCare says 97% of its staff has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Right now, 683 people still haven’t submitted their vaccination information or requested an exemption. Those who don’t comply with the mandate are at risk of losing their jobs.

RELATED: 700+ Yale Health employees still not vaccinated with Oct. 1 mandate deadline approaching

On Wednesday, News 8 spoke with Liza Blanchett, a nurse at Hartford Healthcare’s Nachaug Hospital, who says she is willing to lose her job rather than comply with her employer’s vaccine mandate.

“My body, my choice,” she said.

In a statement, Chief Clinical Officer Ajay Kumar said, “We have been working diligently to help our colleagues come to the decision that is right for them, and hope all of our colleagues make the choice to stay within our organization.”

Meantime, at Yale New Haven Health, “people are stepping up,” Vice President of Population Health Dr. Ohmm Deshpande told News 8. “The number we’re thinking about that will truly remain unvaccinated and will truly have to leave the organization is 100 to 200 people. Again, that’s on a basis of 30,000 people [in Connecticut]. That’s not bad especially from what we’re seeing from our colleagues across the country.”

RELATED: State employees have until Oct. 4 to get the mandated COVID-19 vaccine

Yale’s Chief Medical Officer says as the Friday deadline approaches, more and more employees have been getting their shot.

And he’s seen that number fall as the deadline to submit paperwork passed this week—and holdouts have begun receiving verbal warnings. Termination letters will go out mid-October for those who continue to defy the mandate.

“Part of our mission is caring for the health of our communities…It would be completely against our mission if we didn’t do everything we could to keep them as safe as possible,” Dr. Deshpande said.

As for Blanchett with Hartford Healthcare, she says for now she has a religious exemption. She’ll have to test weekly. She is not sure what comes next but says she won’t compromise on her beliefs.

Trinity Health of New England has about 500 workers who haven’t handed in their vaccine paperwork.

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