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The Real Reason Steve Burton Was Fired From General Hospital

Few business sectors were as significantly impacted by the societal upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic as the entertainment industry (via USA Today). With movie screenings across the world not possible for long periods of time, a large number of theater chains closed their doors (some, like Arclight, permanently). Additionally, with large groups of people unable to congregate for fear of spreading COVID-19, many television and film productions suffered delays (via Deadline). While television and film productions have since proceeded with the introduction of COVID-19 safeguards like masks and vaccines, opposition to these safeguards has added another dimension to the tense discussions surrounding society's eventual return to normalcy.

In the months since the three COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson were approved in the United States, various levels of government and private industry have moved to mandate that Americans be vaccinated (via NPR). Even though more than 7.76 billion doses of vaccine have been safely delivered to people all around the world (via Bloomberg), there remains a notable part of the population that refuses to take the vaccine. Ice Cube was recently removed from a comedy film titled "Oh Hell No," as a result of his refusal to get vaccinated, and "General Hospital" star Ingo Rademacher was ousted from the long-running soap opera for the same reason (via Variety).

Rumors about Steve Burton's future on "General Hospital" have also been swirling for some time now. Today, after weeks of speculation, Burton finally responded to these questions. 

Steve Burton was fired because he refuses to get vaccinated

In a recent video post to his Instagram, Steve Burton confirmed that he has been fired from "General Hospital" as a direct result of his refusal to be vaccinated from COVID-19. He also shared that his applications for medical and religious exemptions were both denied, something that he said "hurts." He emphasized that his decision is about "personal freedom" and said that he doesn't believe "anyone should lose their livelihood over this." 

Burton first joined the cast of "General Hospital" in 1992 and, according to IMDb, he appeared in a total of 2,284 episodes of the series, prior to his firing. In his Instagram video, Burton said that he "will always be thankful for [his] time at 'General Hospital'" and later suggested that he could return to the series, but only if the vaccine mandates were "lifted." Despite Burton's comments, recent developments in the world of Hollywood suggest that vaccine mandates are only likely to get stricter (via The Hollywood Reporter). In fact, one producer recently told The Hollywood Reporter, "We will not engage with anyone who is not vaccinated."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that people receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, and emphasizes that the vaccines offered by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are safe and effective (via CDC.gov).