AKRON, Ohio — Akron Children’s Hospital said in a statement that employees that did not provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination have been placed on unpaid leave. 

What You Need To Know

  • Akron Children’s Hospital has placed an unspecified number of employees on unpaid leave after employees were required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination

  • The decision to require employees to become vaccinated came with some protest

  • While some health care systems are moving forward with vaccine mandates, others have put theirs on hold

  • Amid Biden administration efforts to require all health care workers to become vaccinated, Ohio AG David Yost is fighting federally-implemented vaccine mandates

The hospital, which would not say exactly how many employees were placed on leave, gave employees until Jan. 11 to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. 

“While the Jan. 11 deadline for our COVID-19 vaccination requirement is firm, we are working with those employees who have expressed in good faith their commitment to be fully vaccinated,” Lisa Aurilio, chief operating officer at Akron Children’s Hospital, said in a written statement. “Those employees for which we have no record of vaccination or exemption were notified on Friday that they will be placed on unpaid leave. This will not happen without a one-on-one meeting between an employee and manager.”

A number of social media posts showed some protesting the decision on Monday. 

Akron Children’s operates two hospitals in northeast Ohio and 50 urgent, primary and specialty care locations. 

Whether health care workers throughout the entire U.S. will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 remains a question. Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments on two different Biden administration vaccine mandates, one of which specifically requires workers in the health care field to be vaccinated. 

Some hospital systems, like the Cleveland Clinic and Columbus-based Ohio Health, have postponed requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine amid legal challenges. 

Ohio Attorney General David Yost said he has joined four separate lawsuits to block the federal government from imposing vaccination mandates on workers. 

The decision to mandate vaccines comes as hospitals are seeing more COVID-19 patients in Ohio, according to the Ohio Hospital Association. As of the latest data released Jan. 3 by the Ohio Hospital Association, 284 children ages 0-17 were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.