Novant Health among major health systems in N.C. to require Covid-19 vaccine for all workers

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 2:49 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Novant Health is among six major health care systems in North Carolina that will require all employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

Novant Health, citing stagnant vaccination rates among its workers and across the country, announced on Thursday that all team members must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15.

A Novant Health spokesperson said medical and religious exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Employees claiming any of the exemptions will be required to apply for them, the spokesperson said.

“Since the Covid-19 vaccine first arrived at Novant Health, we have been working diligently to overcome vaccine hesitancy among our team members. These efforts include holding weekly forums to address individual concerns and common misconceptions, making the vaccine convenient and accessible, and providing continuous updates on the vaccine’s safety and efficacy,” according to a statement from Novant Health.

The decision to require the vaccine comes following the North Carolina Healthcare Association’s announcement supporting required vaccinations for health care workers.

“We agree with the North Carolina Healthcare Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and many other health care systems in the region that a mandatory vaccine program is in the best interest of public health. Simply put, it is essential to ensure the safety of our patients, team members and communities.

“While our hope is for every team member to accept the vaccine on their own, a mandatory vaccination program will ensure that Novant Health’s patients and visitors, as well as our team members, have better protection against Covid-19 regardless of where they are in our health system. This disease is preventable thanks to a safe and effective vaccine, and we are committed to doing everything we can to bring an end to this pandemic,” according to Novant’s statement.

In the statement, Novant also thanked the thousands of workers who have already received the vaccine.

The other health care systems that joined Novant are, Atrium Health, Cone Health, Duke University Health Systems, Wake Forest Baptist Health, and the following UNC Health hospitals -- UNC Medical Center, UNC Rex, UNC Johnston, UNC Chatham, UNC Rockingham, and UNC Southeastern.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, released the following statement about the decision:

“I am so grateful to our hospitals and health systems who have been tremendous partners as we’ve worked together to respond to the pandemic. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to our healthcare workforce who have selflessly given so much of themselves to protect and care for us and put us on a path to recovery. Thank you to the North Carolina Healthcare Association, and the health systems that are leading the way requiring vaccination for employees, for taking action to protect the health care workforce, their patients, our communities and the state. Vaccinations are our way out of the pandemic. Don’t wait to vaccinate.”

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