Burton previously shared that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in August and said he had been exposed at work.
Steve Burton has confirmed that he has been let go from General Hospital for not complying with the soap opera's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The 51-year-old actor who has been a cast member for 29 years since 1991 filmed his final episode of the show last month, according to PEOPLE.
“Unfortunately, ‘General Hospital’ has let me go because of the vaccine mandate,” said Burton, who portrayed Jason Morgan on the daytime drama off and on since 1991. https://t.co/fVcq4qwxFZ— CNN (@CNN) November 24, 2021
"I know there's been a lot of rumors and speculations about me and General Hospital. I wanted you to hear it from me personally," he said in a video on his Instagram page.
"Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go because of the vaccine mandate. I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied, which, you know, hurts." Burton continued, "But this is also about personal freedom to me. I don't think anyone should lose their livelihood over this. But with that being said, you know me, I'll always be grateful for my time at General Hospital, I love it there." He concluded, "Maybe one day, if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor."
Former co-star Ingo Rademacher also declined to get vaccinated and has parted ways with the show. As for other stars on the show, many are happy with the show's mandate for Zone A, which includes the actors and all crew who are present on set when the actors aren't wearing masks. The mandate went into effect on Nov. 1. Nancy Lee Grahn, who has played Alexis Davis on General Hospital since 1996, tweeted: I am very proud to work on the ONLY Daytime Soap that has required that all performers, staff, and crew be vaccinated. @GeneralHospital continues to lead with integrity.
According to Deadline, Ingo Rademacher previously slammed "morons," "dictators," and "horrible, horrible" people calling for his firing. Steve Burton, in fact, contracted the virus and shared that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in August. He said he had been exposed at work. The two regulars on the show were outspoken opponents of the coronavirus vaccine mandate and have lost their jobs as a result.
Several Hollywood productions have imposed similar on-set mandates. The CDC states: Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.