Kaiser Permanente suspends 2,200 unvaccinated employees


FILE – In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The first experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. is on track to begin a huge study next month to prove if it really can fend off the coronavirus, its manufacturer announced Thursday, June 11 — a long-awaited step in the global vaccine race. The vaccine, developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will be tested in 30,000 volunteers — some given the real shot and some a dummy shot. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Health care giant Kaiser Permanente has put more than 2,200 employees nationwide on unpaid leave for choosing not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

That’s a little over 1% of its workforce. The company says the employees have until Dec. 1 to get vaccinated and those who choose not to will be terminated.

The Oakland-based company has about 216,000 employees. It says that since announcing the requirement on Aug 2, the vaccination rate among employees has gone from 78% to 92%.

The vaccine mandates have proven successful, with many companies and employers seeing high compliance rates. Kaiser did not disclose how many exemptions it has approved for religious and medical reasons.

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