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NEW YORK (AP) — Northwell Health, New York state’s largest health care provider, announced that 1,400 employees have been terminated for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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The terminations represent less than 2% of the total workforce of Northwell, which runs 23 hospitals and more than 700 outpatient facilities across the state.

“Northwell believes that having a fully vaccinated workforce is an important measure in our duty to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve,” company officials said in a statement Monday.

The officials said they regret losing any employees, adding that their goal was “to comply with the New York state mandate and to get people vaccinated, not to get people terminated.”

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The statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers took effect Sept. 27. It will be expanded Thursday to include home care, hospice and adult care facility workers.

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