Health

Massachusetts hospitals start firing workers over vaccination refusals

“It was for the safety of other staff members and patients that we had to do this.”

The Worcester campus of UMass Memorial Medical Center. Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe, File


FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Hospital systems in Massachusetts have started firing workers who refused to comply with coronavirus vaccine mandates.

New Bedford-based Southcoast Health fired 216 employees last week, a system spokesperson told The Herald News of Fall River.

Another 102 workers who had been placed on unpaid leave for missing a Nov. 15 vaccination deadline returned to work after showing proof of a first dose, spokesperson Katie Cox said. Those employees “will be tested regularly until they are fully vaccinated,” she said.

Another 151 Southcoast Health employees who have been granted religious or medical exemptions will also be tested regularly, she said.

Southcoast Health, with about 7,500 employees, operates Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River; St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford; Tobey Hospital in Wareham; and other facilities.

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UMass Memorial Health fired more than 200 people who refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, CEO and President Dr. Eric Dickson told The Telegram & Gazette.

“It was for the safety of other staff members and patients that we had to do this,” spokesperson Debora Spano said.

Worcester-based UMass Memorial, with about 15,000 employees, operates several hospitals in central Massachusetts.

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