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Duke, UNC, other NC hospital systems requiring workers to be vaccinated

— Major hospital systems across North Carolina, including Durham-based Duke University Health System and Chapel Hill-based UNC Health, announced Thursday that all staff and physicians must be vaccinated to continue working there.

The moves come on the heels of the North Carolina Healthcare Association’s decision backing mandatory vaccinations for health care workers. The association represents 130 hospitals and health systems statewide.

“Protecting patients, visitors and health care personnel from COVID-19 continues to be of paramount importance. Hospital and health system employee vaccination against COVID-19 is vital to safely care for patients by protecting them from infection and to mitigate the spread of the virus within health care facilities and among clinicians, patients and their families and friends,” the association said in a statement.

Duke Health and UNC Health have set a Sept. 21 deadline for staff to get fully vaccinated, and employees will have to show proof of vaccination to their supervisors. Anyone seeking a medical or religious exemption from getting the vaccine must request it by Sept. 7.

“DUHS is taking this action because we are committed to keeping our patients, team members and the community safe and healthy,” Dr. William Fulkerson, executive vice president of Duke Health, said in a statement. “Our position is based on scientific data from infectious disease and public health experts at Duke and around the U.S., which show the vaccines to be both safe and effective in significantly reducing COVID transmissions.”

Other hospital systems mandating vaccinations for staff include Greensboro-based Cone Health, Winston-Salem-based Novant Health and Charlotte-based Atrium Health. There was no immediate word on whether WakeMed would be requiring its staff to get vaccinated.

More to come on this developing story…

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