A Second Loss for “General Hospital” (and It’s Fans) As a Regular Cast Member Opts out Over Vaccine Mandate

There’s just no easy answer when it comes to the conundrum which is the vaccine mandate. I’m one who is generally loathe to take sides in anything (a notable exception being an ill-advised argument I entered into in defense of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather III; it did not end well) and this is no exception. As someone who is fully vaccinated, I can see the arguments on both sides of the fence. We all want and should expect a safe workplace, but the science on the pandemic has been spotty and ever-shifting, at best, leaving some to question the effectiveness of a vaccine. So I get the arguments from those who do not want the vaccine and I feel that, if not careful, there can be some serious overreach by the world governments and various and sundry employers. I absolutely do not want to see anyone deprived of making a living because of their personal beliefs on not taking the jab, and we’re already seeing that happen in many walks of life, including pop culture. That said, I also do not want any more senseless deaths that a vaccine might possibly prevent; like I said: Conundrum.

 My above rant was inspired by the news from our buddies at The Hollywood Reporter this morning of a second regular cast member of the long running soap opera General Hospital being shut out of the daily series going forward due to his personal decision not to be vaccinated.

 Actor Steve Burton now officially joins former General Hospital star Ingo Rademacher in leaving ABC and the popular series over the company’s rigorous and mandatory vaccination policy. Burton’s last day of work on the perennial soap was October 27 and the actor explained in an Instagram video that he attempted to opt out of the vaccine due to medical and religious objections. That request was denied Burton by the higher-ups at ABC.

 In his statement, Burton said that the whole business of mandates “is about personal freedom for me; I don’t think anyone should lose their livelihoods over this. I’ll always be grateful for my time there. I believe when one door closes, multiple doors open. I’m excited to see what the future brings, and maybe one day when these mandates are lifted I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor, and if not, I’m going to take this amazing experience, move forward and be forever grateful.”

Burton is no Johnny-Come-Lately on General Hospital: The stalwart thespian joined the cast of the series back in 1991 and remained a constant for a jaw-dropping twenty one seasons before briefly leaving Port Charles for the land of The Young and the Restless. He returned to General Hospital in 2017 where, until just last month, he was gainfully employed.

 We wish Steve Burton all the best and join with him in wishing for a day – soon, please! – where the world situation is not as in flux as it currently stands today.

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