36 Centra caregivers resigned, terminated due to COVID vaccination requirement


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Thursday — just over five months after Centra ordered that all 7,600 of its caregivers needed to be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 by November — hospital officials announced Thursday that 36 caregivers have left Centra through resignation or termination.

Centra first announced its coronavirus vaccination policy on Aug. 16, three weeks before the Biden administration shared plans for a federal mandate.

The health system required all caregivers — including medical staff and contractors — to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Oct. 1 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

Centra also says the COVID-19 vaccine is a condition of employment beginning Oct. 1, which means all new hires will be required to follow this policy.

As of Nov. 2, approximately 1.9 percent of Centra’s caregivers did not meet the vaccination compliance standards by the Nov. 1 deadline, according to the health system.

In addition, health officials say that statuses for 134 caregivers — of whom 79 were noncompliant while 55 were partially vaccinated — were pending. Centra leaders then had one-on-one conversations with these caregivers to validate their compliance and discuss next steps.

Centra told WFXR News that 34 caregivers “remained pending in compliance” after the suspension period on Tuesday, Nov. 16, which resulted in five caregivers being terminated.

Furthermore, as a result of the vaccination policy, 31 caregivers voluntarily resigned, health officials say.

These 36 total departures only make up 0.52 percent of Centra’s caregiver population, which reportedly does not impact staffing within the health system.

“At this time Centra does not intend to require weekly testing for Caregivers who have received an approved exemption but understand federal guidelines may change this policy in the future. As the federal guidelines continue to evolve, Centra will align our policy with the federal government requirements. Centra remains committed to fulfilling all regulatory and compliance obligations.”

As of Thursday, Nov. 18, Centra says that its current caregiver population is 100-percent compliant with the vaccinate mandate.

“Our patients and Caregivers expect to be safe when they enter one of our facilities, and we need to do everything we can to protect them,“ said Michael Elliott, Senior Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer with Centra. “We know the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19.”

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