Is Steve Burton Leaving General Hospital Over The Vaccine Mandate?

"General Hospital" star Steve Burton disappointed fans in August 2021 when he was forced to cancel a personal appearance after testing positive for COVID-19. The ABC soap actor announced the news via an Instagram video, saying he contracted the virus at work, but he didn't reveal his vaccination status at the time — and still hasn't, as of this writing.

Just one day prior to Burton testing positive, his co-star, Nancy Lee Grahn, tweeted that there were unvaccinated performers on the "General Hospital" set, and she urged her union to take action. "I work on a set with unmasked, unvaccinated actors, because my union thus far @sagaftra has allowed this," she wrote.

By Sept. 3, Grahn, a fierce vaccine advocate, tweeted that there was now a vaccine mandate for all cast members, as is the case with all Disney employees (Disney owns ABC and "General Hospital"). She also thanked the show's producers. "Thank you @valentinifrank, Dominick Nuzzi, @Disney & @ABCTV for following the science and taking ALL possible measures to ensure the safety of the entire @GeneralHospital cast and crew," she wrote. "Very grateful to be working with all of you. Today is a good day for #GH."

So how did Burton respond to the vaccine mandate?

Is Steve Burton the next star to leave 'General Hospital' over the vaccine?

According to TVLine, the "General Hospital" vaccine mandate was set to go into effect on Nov. 1, 2021, and actors who did not comply would be let go from the show. The outlet confirmed that openly anti-vaccine actor Ingo Rademacher was no longer with the soap, and his last episode would air on Nov. 22. Rademacher frequently posted his anti-vaccine stance on Instagram, and, on Nov. 7, he shared the following message alongside a photo of himself: "I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom. #medicalfreedom #nomandates #woke #awakening #coersionisnotconsent"

With Burton remaining mum about his vaccination status, his status with the show remains just as vague. However, the Toronto Sun reports that sources revealed that Burton has left "General Hospital." In 2012, Burton already left the soap and the role of Jason, which he started playing back in the early 1990s, only to return in 2017 (via Soap Central). Neither ABC nor the actor has confirmed whether he would be leaving again.