About 900 employees of the largest hospital chain in Virginia didn’t meet the deadline for COVID-19 vaccination, representatives said Thursday.
While the majority of Sentara Healthcare employees are fully vaccinated, about 3% of the system’s 29,000-strong workforce hasn’t gotten shots or been approved for a medical or religious exemption. Some are out on disability or family-medical leave and have a later deadline.
Sentara instituted its vaccination policy in late August, along with all Hampton Roads hospital systems but Bon Secours, with a deadline of Monday. The mandates followed Pfizer receiving license approval for its two-dose vaccine in people ages 16 and up from the Food and Drug Administration.
As of Thursday, 94% of Sentara’s workers were either fully inoculated or had an approved exemption, officials said in a statement. The company did not specify how many opted out through exemptions.
Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters said 96% of its more than 3,400 employees were fully vaccinated or had an approved exemption as of Tuesday. Twenty staffers, a little less than 1% of the team, are on leave but will be inoculated before they return.
At Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, over 98% of its 2,450 employees have complied with the policy. About 92% of them are vaccinated, said Tricia Hardy, a spokeswoman.
Riverside Health’s system seemed to have the most stragglers in the area, with close to 10% of its workers not complying with the policy by the deadline.
Staffers out of compliance will face a disciplinary process, with possible termination. Unvaccinated Sentara, Chesapeake Regional and CHKD employees may still receive the COVID-19 vaccine at any time to stop that process. It wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday if the same holds true for Riverside employees.
About 3% of Sentara employees are behind schedule: Those individuals have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but haven’t completed the series. CHKD had the same percentage of partially vaccinated workers.
Unvaccinated employees will wear personal protective equipment consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
All Bon Secours associates and medical staff must receive at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by early November. They must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.
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