delta variant
Arlene Ramirez, RN, director, patient care, ED, Long Island Jewish Valley Stream, receives the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital. ( REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Northwell Health has terminated 1,400 staffers for failing to get the Covid-19 vaccine by the New York State-mandated deadline of Sept. 27, the state’s largest medical group confirmed Monday.

The terminations make up nearly 2% of the New Hyde Park-based nonprofit’s work force, which now stands at 76,000 employees across 23 hospitals across Long Island, New York City and Westchester. The figure, which includes clinical and non-clinical staff, is nearly the equivalent of the entire Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead being fired at once.

“Northwell Health is proud to announce that our workforce … is 100 percent vaccinated,” the hospital chain said in a statement. “This allows us to continue to provide exceptional care at all of our facilities, without interruption and remain open and fully operational.”

The state health department issued a deadline mandating that all healthcare workers receive at least their first Covid-19 shot, triggering a rush by hospitals to get their employees inoculated. The inoculation push comes as President Joe Biden and other state and federal political leaders ratchet up pressure on unvaccinated Americans, some of whom object to mandates on religious or health grounds. A federal judge in Albany temporarily ordered New York state officials to allow religious exemptions for the state-imposed vaccine mandate on healthcare workers. 

Other hospital groups on LI have said most of their staffers are inoculated, but have yet to provide statistics on terminations following the vaccine deadline.

“Northwell has taken a rapid, aggressive approach to move successfully toward full vaccination compliance while maintaining continuity of care and ensuring that our high standard of patient safety is not compromised in any way,” Northwell added. “We thank the vast majority of our employees who did the right thing and got vaccinated. Northwell believes that having a fully vaccinated workforce is an important measure in our duty to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve.

“Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as health care professionals and members of the largest health care provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other,” the statement continued. “We owe it to our staff, our patients and the communities we serve to be 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19.”

-With Reuters

Related Story: Long Island Hospitals Fire, Suspend Staffers Not Vaccinated For Covid

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.