HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Salaried employees at The Hershey Company who did not comply with the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate or receive an accommodation have been “separated from the company,” according to a Hershey spokesperson.

Hershey announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for salary employees in August 2021, and the mandate went into effect on Oct. 4, 2021. The company said it sponsored vaccination clinics and allowed employees to seek accommodations for religious or medical reasons.

According to a spokesperson, a “small number” of salaried employees were impacted by the policy. The company did not confirm the exact number of employees affected or where they were based.

The policy is not believed to have impacted factory employees.

Hershey said in a statement that its vaccine mandate is meant “to reduce the spread of the virus and the potential for serious disease or death.”

“Hershey is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our employees and our customers,” the company said.  “We believe that the best way to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families and our various business partners is to ensure that our salaried employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.”