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Essentia Health Dismisses 49 Workers Who Decided Against COVID Vaccination: 'We Respect Their Decisions'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Essentia Health says it has dismissed dozens of employees who have decided not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday was the health system's deadline for employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Essentia Health announced the requirement in early August.

An Essentia Health representative said that 49 employees decided against the vaccination and did not choose to seek an exemption, so they have been dismissed.

"While we're sad to see them leave, we respect their decisions. We appreciate their good work, wish them well and these individuals are eligible for rehire at Essentia Health if they change their mind," the Essentia Health representative said.

The company says that 99% of its workforce is now either vaccinated against COVID-19 or has applied for an exemption. Evaluation of exemption requests continues.

"At Essentia, it is both our privilege to care for patients and our obligation to keep them safe. That's why, like so many health care systems across the country, we require our employees to be vaccinated against COVID as a condition of their employment. For the overwhelming majority of our colleagues who have complied, we are grateful for their unwavering commitment to patient care," the representative's statement said.

Headquartered in Duluth, Essentia Health is a health system that operates in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

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