DENVER (CBS4) – UCHealth reports 119 employees were fired recently for not having been vaccinated against COVID-19 or given a medical or religious exemption. Employees had until Oct. 1 to get vaccinated.

The hospital system employs 26,500 people across the state. Officials say those who were fired make up .5% of their workforce.

The hospital says health care employees have been through a lot in the last 18 months.

“No hospital wants to lose valued employees, but we know vaccines save lives and increase safety for everyone. We appreciate our staff members and providers who have chosen to be vaccinated to protect their family members, coworkers and our patients. Our dedicated health care workers are improving the health of Colorado’s communities during what has been an extremely difficult time for everyone in health care.”

Employees can re-apply once they’ve been vaccinated. Those who received an exemption are required to be tested twice a week, every week. Those employees are responsible for scheduling them, but the hospital will cover the cost.