Vaccine mandates could cause loss of more Onslow County employees

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Onslow County officials continue to grapple with high rates of COVID-19.

COVID-19-related EMS calls have increased 17 percent in the county.

County officials continue to push for vaccination, but are concerned that with staffing shortages and a number of citizens averse to getting the vaccine, they may run the risk of losing even more employees with President Biden’s executive order.

The order Biden made on Friday called for all employers with at least 100 employees to require vaccination for employment.

Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell says if the Department of Labor implements these orders, they would apply to the county, which has almost 1,300 employees, as well as many local governments.

“The City of Jacksonville, Onslow County Schools, there are several large employers in the county that would fall under that mandate, depending upon what the Department of Labor puts out as its guidelines.”

Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell

Sheri Slater, Onslow County assistant county manager, voiced her concerns on the further loss of employees.

“We have a lot of folks out on quarantine or isolation depending on their situation. We’ve also had folks decide that this job is very difficult, which it is. If vaccines are mandated and your choices are to get vaccinated or not to work here, I do anticipate there are people who will leave.”

Sheri Slater, Onslow County assistant county manager

COVID-19 continues to have negative effects in the area. County officials report 11 outbreaks in the county as of Monday.

Reports also state COVID-19-related 911 calls went up 174 percent in August of 2021 compared to August of 2020.

“It is really important right now for folks to get vaccinated. I don’t know if the federal mandate will come into play. I don’t know what’s going to come out of the department of labor. I do know that we still believe the vaccination is reducing the severity of disease.”

Onslow County Manager Sharon Russell

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