Over 100 Baystate Health employees on unpaid leave as the vaccine mandate takes effect

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Baystate Health requires all employees, including remote workers, clinical staff, contractors, volunteers, students, and those conducting business in its health care facilities be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The mandate went into effect Friday, October 1 in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and keep all patients, team members, and community. There are total of 12,593 employees (more than 99 percent) who are in compliance, and 419 of them received medical or religious exemptions.

There are currently 145 employees that have been placed on unpaid administrative leave who are not in compliance with the policy. Of those employees, they are given two weeks to get vaccinated to continue to be employed by Baystate Health. Any employee who is partially vaccinated can continue to work however, they are required to be fully vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

Getting vaccinated is the single most important and responsible step each of us can take to put an end to this devastating pandemic and protect patients, families and each other.

The safety and efficacy of rigorously tested, FDA approved or authorized vaccines in preventing serious illness and death are clear. The best way to keep our care environment safe for both patients and caregivers during the current pandemic is the highly-effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine. That is why we decided to make vaccination a condition of employment.

I have had to weigh the pain of what will be workers losing their jobs against my personal responsibility to provide the safest environment for patients, which is best assured by a remarkably safe and effective vaccine. I want to thank our employees who proactively took this important step to assuring their personal health, the health of their colleagues, and the safety of patients and the community.

We recognize that some employees have remained steadfast in their decision to not be vaccinated, but we must put safety first and follow through with our mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. We appreciate the support we have received from our team members, patients and community in moving forward with this decision.”

Dr. Mark A. Keroack, president & CEO of Baystate Health

Baystate Health currently mandates vaccinations for influenza and several other infectious diseases, such as measles, mumps, and rubella. Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented, and approved. 

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