(Fargo, ND) -- The COVID-19 vaccine mandate, set to take effect Nov. 1, is looking to have a near full compliance rate from Sanford employees. The information comes from Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Vice President and Medical Officer, who says, "There will be very few willing to walk away. I think we've had nearly 20 employees resign from just over 10,000..."

However, unvaccinated employees at Sanford locations will not be immediately fired following the November 1st deadline. According to Dr. Griffin, they will be furloughed for a period of time. He says the goal of the furlough is to allow for last chance vaccinations.

"They go on furlough for a certain period of time and they still have the opportunity if they wanted to become compliant and come back to work. At some point in time the furlough won't be extended and their employment will end."

Sanford Health is not alone in enforcing a vaccine mandate. Essentia Health, Altru Health Systems, and CHI St. Alexius Health are some of the many facilities across North Dakota enforcing the November 1st deadline.

With the deadline slowly approaching, some community members are voicing concern on the mandate - arguing that it will add to the labor shortage in healthcare. Dr. Griffin challenges that statement, saying, "Our staffing issue is not the vaccine."

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