North Carolina’s Novant Well being is about to fireside an estimated 175 workers this week after the group of medical professionals refused to adjust to the hospital system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Lower than 200 Novant Well being workers out of greater than 35,000 – unfold throughout 15 hospitals and 800 areas statewide – opted to be noncompliant with the mandate, Megan Rivers, a spokeswoman for Novant Well being, which is predicated in Winston Salem, North Carolina, stated in an e-mail to Fox Information Digital. Which means greater than 99% of Novant Well being workers have been compliant with the vaccine mandate, in line with the hospital system.
“We are thrilled that the vast majority of team members gave Novant Health’s patients and visitors, as well as our team members, better protection against COVID-19 regardless of where they are in our health system,” Rivers stated.
“We have not had a major impact with staffing related to our vaccination program,” Dr. David H. Priest, Novant Well being’s senior vice chairman and chief security, high quality and epidemiology workplace, stated at a group briefing on Monday. “The most important thing we do is keeping patients safe. Our sacred responsibility is to make sure people are not harmed when they come into any of our facilities.”
Priest dismissed critics of the vaccine mandate on-line, telling reporters, “Social media has a way of amplifying those voices.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me that non-health care industries would mandate a vaccine and health care would not. Medical ethics is really important but not all medical ethics principles are equal,” he stated. “The number one medical ethical principle is we do not cause harm to patients or certainly cause their death. It comes certainly before anything else. It comes before my personal choice.”
“I think in the months ahead this is going to become a non-event,” Priest stated of pushback to the vaccine mandate. “I think all of this angst about the vaccine and this small group of people that are against it – we have to work through that, but there was a little bit of that around polio vaccine. I’ll be glad when all of that dies down. And it will over time.”
Final week, about 375 Novant Well being workers – throughout 15 hospitals, 800 clinics and a whole lot of outpatient services – have been confirmed to be noncompliant and weren’t capable of report back to work, Rivers stated. Those that have been noncompliant got a five-day, unpaid suspension interval to permit them time to get vaccinated. If nonetheless noncompliant after that window, their employment was to be terminated.
Over the 5 days, roughly 200 group members got here into compliance.
On Sept. 21, Novant Well being stated 98.6% of greater than 35,000 group members have been compliant with its obligatory COVID-19 vaccination program. Staff are thought of compliant if they’ve obtained the next: the only dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, a primary dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine – or in the event that they utilized for, and have been granted, a medical or non secular exemption.
Staff who’ve began a two-dose vaccine collection can have till Oct. 15 to get their second dose and stay in compliance, Rivers stated.
Novant Well being workers who’ve been granted a medical or non secular exemption are required to bear weekly COVID-19 testing, put on N95 respirators masks or different acceptable PPE, and eye-wear safety whereas engaged on Novant Well being premises, Rivers stated. She declined to reveal what number of workers have been granted exemptions to the vaccine mandate.