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MetroHealth has fired 11 employees for refusing COVID-19 vaccines

MetroHealth was the first healthcare system in Cleveland to require the shot for staff back in October, and hospital officials told Ideastream Public Media on Thursday that 11 employees have been terminated for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate.

MetroHealth mandated the vaccine for employees before the Biden administration issued a vaccine mandate for healthcare systems such as hospitals and nursing homes. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the requirement earlier this month.

Fifteen other MetroHealth employees left on their own or retired and told the hospital system that the vaccine mandate was the reason, officials said.

Thursday is the deadline for many healthcare workers, including Cleveland Clinic employees, to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine shot or face the possibility of termination. All employees are required to receive their first dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or the one-dose Johnson and Johnson shot by Jan. 27 and be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28.

University Hospitals employees have until February 14 to get the first vaccine.

Initially, MetroHealth suspended five employees without pay for not cooperating with the mandate back in November. The hospital system gave the employees two weeks to get vaccinated or prove they already did.

About 426 MetroHealth employees requested exemptions, largely based on medical or religious grounds. MetroHealth has not indicated the status of those who requested those exemptions.

The Biden administration’s rule requires healthcare systems that receive reimbursements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), such as hospitals and nursing homes, to mandate vaccinations for employees or risk losing funding.

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