Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington | Photo: Google Street View

Advocate Aurora Health, which operates hospitals in Libertyville, Barrington and throughout the Chicago area, has fired more than 400 employees who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In early August, Advocate Aurora Health announced they were requiring all team members to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 15, saying their decision “underlines safety as the system’s top priority.”

“We are first and foremost a safe, clinical enterprise. Our ultimate duty is to protect the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities,” President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh said in August.

“The data is overwhelming. This vaccine is safe, and it’s highly effective in preventing infection and even more so, serious illness and death,” Skogsbergh said.

“While COVID is far from gone, our story is still being written. Let this decision to mandate vaccines be another chapter in our book – one that says we have done everything we can to keep our patients, our communities and each other safe and healthy,” he added.

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The mandate applies to all of the company’s 75,000 team members in both Illinois and Wisconsin, including remote workers and those who don’t work directly with patients, as well as medical staff, students, volunteers and on-site vendors.

The company said they would accept “limited exceptions for specific religious or medical reasons.”

Advocate Aurora Health Public Affairs Manager Kristen Johnson said on Thursday that 440 team members were not in compliance with the policy and had “parted ways with the organization.”

Of the 440 team members — 0.6% of the company’s workforce — were per diem workers, Johnson told Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

“With about 99% of our team members compliant or in the process of becoming compliant with our vaccine policy, we are protecting the health and safety of our patients, communities and each other,” Johnson said.

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Johnson said she was unable to say how many of the 440 worked at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville and Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.