RWJBarnabas Health, which boasts 11 acute-care hospitals across the Garden State, announced the news in a statement on Wednesday.
Back in May, the private company mandated that all staff at a ‘supervisory or above level’ be fully vaccinated by June 30.
In Wednesday’s statement – which was first obtained by ABC News – RWJBarnabas Health stated that a ‘vast majority’ of staff complied with that order.
‘As of July 14, 2,979 staff members, or 99.7 percent, who are at the supervisor level and above, have been fully vaccinated or received medical and religious exemptions or a deferral,’ the company said.
‘Regrettably, six staff at the supervisor level and above have not complied with the mandate and are no longer employees of RWJBH, per our policy.’
The identities of the six workers were not disclosed.
New Jersey’s largest hospital system, RWJBarnabas Health, has fired six senior health care workers because they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The health care company have been encouraging all of its 35,000 employees to be vaccinated. They have been distributing flyers about the vaccines in recent months
RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer, with more than 35,000 staffers, many of whom do not work directly with sick patients.
But the company now says they have plans to require all hospital staff to be vaccinated. They will announce a vaccine deadline date for those employees ‘in the coming days.’
Meanwhile, other private New Jersey hospital systems are not enforcing the same rules.
Atlantic Health System, which serves 11 New Jersey counties, told NJ.com that they are ‘giving workers the option whether to vaccinate’. The company said most have chosen to do so.
‘As of today more than 75 percent of team members at Atlantic Health System have received at least one dose of vaccine against COVID-19, and that is without mandating our team members to receive it,’ a company executive told the publication on July 1.
RWJBarnabas Health boasts 11 acute-care hospitals including RWJ University Hospital in Rahway
The move has divided members of the community, with many worried that they could contract the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 if they come into contact with an unvaccinated doctor or nurse while receiving treatment for an unrelated issue.
COVID cases across New Jersey are surging as the variant spreads. On Wednesday, the state reported 669 new COVID cases – up 165 percent from just two weeks ago.
Gov. Phil Murphy says a large majority of those testing positive are unvaccinated.
‘We’ve got probably 350 folks in our hospital,’ he told NBC Wednesday.
‘I venture to say, they’re all unvaccinated… The variants are all over our state. I would beg people to get vaccinated, and if they do so, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get COVID. But it does mean, overwhelmingly, you’re going to stay out of the hospital and please God stay alive.’
As of Wednesday, 58 percent of New Jersey residents were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But while vaccines may be effective at preventing transmission and serious illness, many people across the country say it is wrong for companies to force their employees to have the shots – even if that company is in the health care business.
Back in May, 117 unvaccinated employees from the Houston Methodist Hospital system filed a lawsuit against the Texas health care company after it mandated workers be immunized.
The complaint stated: ‘Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment’.
It also claimed that the vaccine mandate ‘requires the employee to subject themselves to medical experimentation as a prerequisite to feeding their families.’
However, US District Judge threw out the suit last month, stating: ‘Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus’.
‘It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer. Bridges [an employee who filed the lawsuit] can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.’