Thousands of Georgia health care workers are facing a Friday deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs.
Half of metro Atlanta’s hospital systems set an Oct. 1 deadline for mandatory staff vaccinations, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Among them is Piedmont Healthcare, which told the newspaper only a minimal number of its full-time employees will not be vaccinated by the deadline, and their loss will have no impact on operations. Piedmont has more than 23,000 employees.
Other hospital systems with an Oct. 1 deadline are Emory Healthcare, which has more than 24,000 workers, and Wellstar Health System, with about 25,000 workers. The AJC said they did not respond to questions about the number or type of staff expected to leave because of the mandate.
Wellstar has faced protests from employees objecting to the vaccine mandate.
Many of those who are opposed just want time, said Beth Stein, a maternity nurse from Cartersville with 22 years of experience at Wellstar.
She has had her first shot and intends to get her second because her daughters asked her to, she told the AJC. But she said she is “absolutely sick over the mandate” and knows of six employees who are leaving because of it.
Dr. Kimberly Manning, an Emory University physician who works at Grady Health System, said she empathizes with people who have rejected the shots, but their decisions have broader consequences.
“We all like autonomy,” she said. “But if the decision that you make can greatly impact other people, then that becomes something that isn’t just only about you.”