LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Kaiser Permanente has suspended thousands of its employees who have not yet been vaccinated.

The Oakland-based healthcare company says 2,200 of its workers were placed on unpaid leave as of Oct. 1. They have until Dec. 1 to either get vaccinated job or risk losing their jobs permanently.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 13: General views of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on November 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Kaiser made it a requirement for all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Aug. 2. At that time, Kaiser said 78% of its employees and more than 95% of its physicians were fully vaccinated. Kaiser Permanente employees more than 216,000 people, 23,000 of whom are physicians.

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“Large groups of unvaccinated people are fueling the current increase in cases and 97% to 99% of COVID-19 hospital admissions are unvaccinated patients,” Greg A. Adams, chair and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, said in a statement at the time the vaccine requirement was announced. “Making vaccination mandatory is the most effective way we can protect our people our patients, and the communities we serve.”

As of Oct. 4, just over 2,200 employees have not complied with the vaccine requirement and were placed on unpaid administrative leave, according to Kaiser. As employees get vaccinated, Kaiser says they will be allowed to return to work.

“We hope none of our employees will choose to leave their jobs rather than be vaccinated, but we won’t know with uncertainty until then,” a statement released by Kaiser this week said. “We will continue to work with this group of employees to allay concerns and educate them about the vaccines, their benefits and risks.”

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Kaiser Permanente serves 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.