Healthcare Workers Terminated for Refusing COVID Vaccine

DULUTH, Minn. — Local hospitals are now losing some of their employees over their vaccine requirements. It’s a small percentage for Essentia Health and St. Luke’s, but both will have to work through some resignations and terminations.

Both Essentia and St. Luke’s announced in early August, that they would be requiring the vaccine for all of their employees by October and November. But now, as time is running out for employees to receive it, they are now having to resign or are facing terminations.

Essentia Health said in a statement earlier, that 98% of their more than 14,000 employees have either been vaccinated or have filed for an exemption.

Similar situations are happening over at St. Luke’s. Of the nearly 3,000 employees on staff, 27 have chose to resign due to the covid-19 vaccine mandate.

“Well of course were disappointed any time we lose any employees,” Marla Halvorson, the Human Resources Director for St. Luke’s said.

But Halvorson says that it does not impact the hospital too much, employment wise, “if you look at the size of our workforce, that is really less than 1% of our workforce, and there was no one area that was particularly hard-hit, so it really wasn’t unlike sort of some natural turnover that we typically have, just being an employer of our size.”

Halvorsen also said that 5% of the employees have been exempt from the vaccine, which is approximately 150 employees due to their religious beliefs, or medical reasons.
They will instead be required to take a covid test weekly. But, most employees have actually responded positively to these requirements.

“We’ve had a number of employees come forward and say thank you, I know you’re making our patients safer, you’re making me safer, itsĀ  safer to go home to my family, so I do think its had a positive impact on the organization,” Halvorson said.

The 27 St. Luke’s employees who decided not to get the vaccine have officially resigned, and those who have not complied with Essentia’s requirements will receive an “Intent to Terminate” notice effective November 1st.

Categories: Minnesota, News, News – Latest News