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'I Know A Lot Of People Who Have Quit': Friday Deadline For Boston Hospital Employees To Get COVID Vaccine

BOSTON (CBS) – Friday was deadline day at three major hospitals in Boston. "I know a lot of people who have quit their jobs because they didn't want to get the vaccination," said nursing student Ariana Tanner. She works at Massachusetts General Hospital where employees were told to show proof they've had shots against COVID-19 by Friday, October 15th.

"I know a lot of employees are not getting vaccinated," said Oyuky Vilchis, who works at the information desk. Mass General Brigham, which oversees both Mass General and Brigham and Women's Hospital, sent a message to employees Thursday. "Non-compliant workforce...will be placed on unpaid leave and lose Epic and network access at the end of their shift on Wednesday." They then have until November 5th to either show documentation or be fired for good.

"I've been on the front lines, and so we have felt exposed," said Mass General cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Passeri. "It's a lot better now that we've had the vaccine. Last year it was very difficult to be taking care of patients with COVID."

That's why 97% of employees have reported being vaccinated at Mass General, Brigham, their affiliates, with the same percentage at Boston Medical Center. That leaves more than 2,100 unvaccinated employees combined.

While BMC says it will have no impact on patient care, the tension can be heard in the voices of healthcare workers across the city. "It's hard," one medical assistant confided. "What do you do? You know you've got to take care of the people who are most vulnerable, which are patients, but you also have to take care of people who want to make a living. I wouldn't want to be in the position of making the decisions that they're having to make," she said.

Other major hospitals in Massachusetts also have vaccination mandates in place, but their employees still have a few weeks to comply before those deadlines at the end of the month and beginning of November.

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