PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Legacy Health’s COVID-19 vaccination deadline quickly approaches, 5% of its workers remain unvaccinated.

Since announcing its mandatory vaccine requirement in early August, Legacy has upped the rate of its 14,000 employees who have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose from 85% to 95%. However, that remaining 5% adds up to a whopping 700 employees who have yet to receive either dose.

Legacy Health told KOIN 6 that those with approved exemptions will work but not in patient care. The health system began moving unvaccinated employees from patient care positions two weeks ago to alleviate any dramatic change in care, according to the head of Legacy Health’s human resources department.

The last day to receive the first dose and ensure full vaccination by Legacy’s Oct. 18 deadline was back on Oct. 4. At this point, none of the remaining unvaccinated employees have adequate time to get the shot and meet the deadline.

All employees who are not fully vaccinated by Legacy’s deadline are poised to be terminated, ensuring every person who works with patients in their hospitals, clinics, imaging centers and labs — including doctors, nurses, security officers, students and even gift shop volunteers — will be fully vaccinated before the end of the month.

Legacy says they “strive to be the safest place to receive and deliver care to meet its mission of good health for the region.”

“As nurses, we need to do everything we can to be healthy and present to help our patients heal,” said Kelly Pixley Keller, a nurse in the emergency department at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center in Gresham. “We’re here to make people better. Knowing that all my co-workers are vaccinated makes me feel safer, like I’m walking into a warm bubble where I can do my job.” 

OHSU officials told KOIN 6 News that as of October 6, “OHSU has fully vaccinated 21,373 employees and students, plus an additional 187 who are partially vaccinated. A total of 814 employees and students have not yet been vaccinated.”

That number includes new employees and students who haven’t started their tenure, officials said.