Kaiser Permanente announced Tuesday that it had put a little more than 2,200 employees on unpaid leave nationwide because they had failed to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or to provide a religious or medical exemption.

“This number is declining daily, and as employees respond, they may return to work,” Kaiser leaders said in a written statement. “Those not responding have until Dec. 1, 2021, to do so, to be able to return to work.”

Kaiser employed roughly 216,700 people in 2020, including more than 8,100 in Washington state, according to the company’s website. Kaiser leaders said they would continue educating unvaccinated employees about the COVID-19 vaccines, their benefits and risks as part of an effort to ensure no one loses their job as a result of the mandate.

When Kaiser announced the vaccination requirement on Aug. 2, it reported that 78% of workers were already vaccinated. As of Wednesday, company leaders said, more than 92% of employees are vaccinated.

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