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55 lawmakers ask N.C. health system leaders to reconsider COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Lawmakers claim they continue to hear from several hospital system employees who said they feel “blindsided” by the vaccination requirement.
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - More than 50 lawmakers are asking CEOs from major North Carolina health systems to reconsider requirements for all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 55 NC House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to health system executives in response to their recent decision to require all hospital staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in the coming weeks in order to keep their jobs.

The letter is addressed to CEOs at Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Novant Health, Cone Health, Duke University Health System, UNC Health, Vidant Health and WakeMed Hospitals.

Lawmakers claim they continue to hear from several hospital system employees who said they feel “blindsided” by the vaccination requirement.

“Regardless of the legality surrounding mandatory vaccinations, there are valid concerns and fears from healthcare workers who will lose their job if they do not take the vaccine. An issue of particular concern is from women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those with preexisting conditions or religious objections,” the letter reads.

Recently, Mecklenburg County Public Health, Atrium Health and Novant Health all announced requirements for employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Even more recently than that, Seven of Charlotte’s largest independent medical practices announced the same requirement for employees.

The following are the Charlotte-area medical practices now requiring COVID-19 vaccinations of all their employees:

  • Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center
  • Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
  • Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates
  • Charlotte Gastroenterology & Hepatology
  • OrthoCarolina
  • Surgical Specialists of Charlotte
  • Tryon Medical Partners

Most health system leaders say these decisions are being made to address the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the highly contagious Delta Variant infecting unvaccinated people.

The 55 lawmakers who wrote the letter say they respect the rights of private employers and recognize the importance of vaccinations. These lawmakers are still asking the health leaders to reconsider their requirements.

“While we recognize the importance of vaccines and respect the rights of private employers, we strongly encourage you to reexamine this requirement with greater input from employees and flexibility for those who have legitimate objections. These men and women were rightly hailed as healthcare heroes while serving on the frontlines against COVID-19. It is simply unfair to force them to choose between their job and taking a vaccine that is only authorized for “emergency use only,” the letter read.

The full letter can be found online here. The list of lawmakers involved in the letter is below:

  1. Rep. Jay Adams
  2. Rep. Dean Arp
  3. Rep. John Bell
  4. Rep. Hugh Blackwell
  5. Rep. Jamie Boles
  6. Rep. John Bradford
  7. Rep. Mark Brody
  8. Rep. Dana Bumgardner
  9. Rep. Mike Clampitt
  10. Rep. George Cleveland
  11. Rep. Jimmy Dixon
  12. Rep. Jeffrey Elmore
  13. Rep. Dudley Greene
  14. Rep. Ed Goodwin
  15. Rep. Destin Hall
  16. Rep. Kyle Hall
  17. Rep. Bobby Hanig
  18. Rep. Jon Hardister
  19. Rep. Kelly Hastings
  20. Rep. Chris Humphrey
  21. Rep. Pat Hurley
  22. Rep. Frank Iler
  23. Rep. Jake Johnson
  24. Rep. Brenden Jones
  25. Rep. Keith Kidwell
  26. Rep. Pat McElraft
  27. Rep. Jeff McNeely
  28. Rep. Allen McNeill
  29. Rep. Charlie Miller
  30. Rep. Grey Mills
  31. Rep. Tim Moffitt
  32. Rep. Ben Moss
  33. Rep. Erin P. Paré
  34. Rep. Howard Penny
  35. Rep. Ray Pickett
  36. Rep. Larry Pittman
  37. Rep. Mark Pless
  38. Rep. Larry Potts
  39. Rep. Dennis Riddell
  40. Rep. David Rogers
  41. Rep. Jason Saine
  42. Rep. Wayne Sasser
  43. Rep. Phil Shepard
  44. Rep. Carson Smith
  45. Rep. Sarah Stevens
  46. Rep. Larry Strickland
  47. Rep. John Szoka
  48. Rep. Steve Tyson
  49. Rep. Harry Warren
  50. Rep. Sam Watford
  51. Rep. Diane Wheatley
  52. Rep. Donna White
  53. Rep. David Willis
  54. Rep. Matthew Winslow
  55. Rep. Jeff Zenger

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