In North Carolina, doctors and nurses—who have heroically carried hospitals through the pandemic for well over a year without receiving the EUA COVID-19 "vaccine"—are being told they must now get the shot or will lose their job. The healthcare professionals recently spoke up after several health care providers across the state announced they would mandate all their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
North Carolina is an "employment at will" state which means a company can fire you for any reason unless it is an illegal one. An employment attorney informed FOX46 there is no law against a private company requiring the vaccine in the state. Healthcare worker Brianna Isham is upset over the development, telling the station, “I am concerned the vaccines are being pushed when they don’t have FDA approval.” One woman, whose husband is a registered nurse, said he "is not seeing good things come of the vaccine thus far." Another hospital employee, a pregnant and breastfeeding mother who wished to remain anonymous, remarked:
"As a breastfeeding mother, this mandate concerns me. The safety of all current COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people, the effects of vaccination on a breastfed baby, and the effects on milk production or excretion have not been studied. Neither myself nor my colleagues should be forced to be a part of a clinical trial without our explicit informed consent, which gives us the right to choose.”
The news of the vaccine mandate prompted thousands to peacefully protest in cities such as Charlotte and Durham. The protesters included doctors, nurses, other healthcare staff, concerned community members, and friends and families of healthcare workers.
The hospitals, alongside the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA), announced on July 22nd that they believe "a mandatory vaccine program is in the best interest of public health and is essential for the safety of our patients, teammates, and communities." Each hospital has a deadline for compliance set at various dates in September or October. Speaking of what will happen to those who refuse to get the jab, officials from Duke said they do not want employees to resign, but if they don't comply, they will face termination.
UNC Health, which collaborates with Ralph Baric, Ph.D. of the UNC Department of Epidemiology and colleague of Dr. Anthony Fauci, alerted its employees that they must get the COVID-19 vaccine by September 21st. That includes anyone working at UNC Medical Center, UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, UNC Health Southeastern, UNC Rockingham Health Care, UNC Physicians Network Practices, and UNC Health Shared Services locations that support those hospitals. UNC Health CEO Wesley Burks said approximately 72 percent of its employees had been vaccinated.
Duke University Health System, Atrium Health, Cone Health, Novant Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health agreed to similar mandates. According to reports in mainstream media, Atrium Health maintains that new variants of COVID-19 are partly responsible for a 200 percent increase in hospitalizations, adding that "among their patients, 99% of those hospitalized in recent weeks have been those who are unvaccinated." Mentioning the "highly contagious" Delta variant as a reason for its policy change, Duke Executive Vice President William Fulkerson said 75 percent of its employees already had received their COVID-19 vaccine. In an email to staff, Fulkerson wrote:
"Similar to our existing influenza vaccination policy, the COVID vaccine requirement aligns with our core value of 'caring for our patients, their loved ones and each other.'"
In a letter to its employees, Novant Health noted that its hope is for every team member to accept the vaccine voluntarily, but continued that a mandatory vaccine program will "ensure that Novant Health's patients and visitors, as well as our team members, have better protection against COVID-19. This disease is preventable thanks to a safe and effective vaccine." Novant Health requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by September 15th.
Last week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced through Executive Order 224 that the state government would begin verifying the vaccination status of its workers. He also urged other government agencies and private employers to do the same, adding that, at the very minimum, they should verify vaccination status for their workers. NCDHHS Secretary Cohen commented:
“There is only one way out of this pandemic, and that is vaccination. Our trends are accelerating at an alarmingly fast rate, and the highest rates of viral spread are happening in areas with low vaccination rates and among those who are not fully vaccinated. If you are already vaccinated, I call on you to urge your unvaccinated family and friends to get their shot now. It is not an understatement to say that you will save lives by doing so.”
When experimental vaccines against COVID-19 first became available in December under an EUA, hospitals around the country reported they planned to wait until the drugs received full FDA approval before deciding whether to make them mandatory. However, in recent weeks, numerous hospitals and medical groups in Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and elsewhere began issuing vaccination requirements, with some religious and medical exemptions.
In reaction to the commotion surrounding vaccine requirements in health care and other professions, at least six states—Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah—have established new laws limiting mandatory COVID-19 shots, according to PEW research.
According to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures, in all but Tennessee, the new laws prohibit employers from requiring workers to get a vaccine but carve out an exception for health care and public health workers. Tennessee’s law forbids the governor or a state agency from requiring any individual to get vaccinated and does not make an exception for health care workers.