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DENVER (KDVR) — The University of Colorado Health System has terminated 119 employees who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The State of Colorado has given health care workers until the end of October to get vaccinated. UCHealth put its own mandate of Oct. 1 in place.

The UCHealth system has more than 26,000 employees all over the state. The 119 terminated represent just 0.5% of the system’s entire workforce.

“No hospital wants to lose valued employees,  but we know vaccines save lives and increase safety for everyone.  Any of those leaving UCHealth employment are welcome – and encouraged – to re-apply for their positions should they decide to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and wish to return,” shared Dan Weaver of UCHealth.

The hospital system said the vaccine mandate has actually improved staffing levels since fewer employees are testing positive for the virus.