Hundreds, including healthcare workers, gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday to protest Atrium Health’s and Novant Health’s recent announcement requiring workers to be vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus. One registered nurse said she is “not going to be forced to take an experimental vaccine.”
Atrium Health and Novant Health, two of the biggest healthcare systems in the city, announced last month that all staff will be required to get vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus.
“With the new Delta variant being far more potent than the original virus, we view it as essential that each of our teammates receive their vaccination to protect themselves, their families and the people in their care,” Atrium said in a press release. The mandate covers the system’s more than 70,000 workers spanning dozens of hospitals and other facilities.
“We view this vaccine no differently than our requirement for our teammates to get an annual flu shot, as well as be vaccinated for measles, chickenpox and other infectious diseases,” it added.
The healthcare system told WBTV that “all of our teammates (including remote workers, physicians, medical residents, faculty, fellows, trainees, contractors, students/visiting students, members of the medical staff, temporary workers and volunteer staff) … must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.” They have until October 31 to do so.
Similarly, Novant Health is giving employees until September 15 to finish their vaccination series, requiring those who seek a religious or medical exemption to make their request by the end of the month.
“We are proud to be among the first to implement this program alongside other healthcare systems in the region who agree that a mandatory vaccine program is in the best interest of public health and a necessary step to ensure the safety of our patients, team members and communities,” Novant Health said in a statement.