NC to require state health care workers to get vaccinated

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 9:38 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - NCDHHS tells WITN in an email it will require that all employees, volunteers, students, trainees, as well as contracted and temporary workers working at state-operated health care facilities be fully vaccinated or receive an approved medical or religious exemption by September 30, 2021.

The email goes on to say, “Vaccination for COVID-19 is the most effective prevention against the disease. Over 75% of (DSOHF) Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities staff are vaccinated, with three facilities over 90%. As a health care system, we have a responsibility to protect the patients and residents that we serve – many of whom are at high risk for COVID-19 complications, are without other options for care, and in our care for long periods of time. It is well documented that health care personnel often unintentionally introduce the virus into institutional settings prompting an outbreak. That’s why numerous professional organizations recommend that vaccines be required for all healthcare and long-term care staff, including the North Carolina Healthcare Association and over 50 national groups such the American Medical Association and the American Nursing Association.”

DSOHF manages state operated health care facilities that treat adults and children with mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance use disorders and neuro-medical needs.

In eastern Carolina, that includes the Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Greenville and the Caswell Developmental Center in Kinston.

NC House Speaker Tim Moore is critical of the mandate, saying, “I have personally been vaccinated against COVID-19, and I have done my best to help educate the public and urge others to get vaccinated if they choose to do so. But at the end of the day, the decision whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one and should be made between a doctor and patient. North Carolinians will not be bullied into being vaccinated against their will, particularly with a vaccine that has yet to be approved by the FDA. Our healthcare workers are certainly capable of weighing the risks and benefits and can make their own decision about the vaccine. This mandate could force healthcare workers to choose between their employment and their conscience. Now is not the time to risk losing any of our healthcare workers who have been at the front lines of this pandemic.”

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