Nash UNC Health Care to Mandate COVID Vaccine for Staff
Nash UNC Health Care’s board of commissioners voted in support of adding the COVID-19 vaccination to the current list of vaccinations that Nash UNC requires for staff as a condition of employment.
Current vaccinations that are a condition of employment are Influenza (Flu), Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis B (Hep B) and Tuberculosis (TB).
While many health systems have announced mandating the COVID vaccine several weeks ago, Nash UNC stated that they wanted to allow time for staff and other community members to give their input to the decision.
“Management and the board have taken this evaluation very seriously,” said Dr. L. Lee Isley, president & CEO of Nash UNC Health Care. “We asked the community, employees, medical staff and infectious disease experts to share their thoughts and opinions on this matter before we made this decision to include the COVID vaccination as a condition of employment at Nash.”
Input from staff was shared and discussed with the Board, Executive Committee of the Board and Medical Executive Committees as the health system evaluated this decision.
Currently, approximately 60% of Nash UNC staff and medical staff are vaccinated.
“Caring for our community is a precious gift and significant duty we all took on when we entered the field of healthcare. We feel that the COVID vaccine has proven to be safe and effective at preventing the spread and severity of COVID. We want our patients to feel safe and secure when coming to the hospital, as well as provide a safe working environment for our staff,” said Isley.
The policy will go into effect Nov. 8, 2021 and will require that all employees, medical staff, contract staff, volunteers, vendors and students who work or provide services on-site are fully vaccinated by that date. Medical or religious exemptions will be reviewed and determined by the Medical Exemption Committee and Religious Exemption Committee.
Employees granted exemption due to medical or religious reasons will be subject to additional precautions including weekly COVID-19 testing.
“We will continue to maintain universal safety measures for all team members, including universal masking, self-monitoring, and occupancy restrictions in all break rooms and gathering spaces. Our goal is always to provide a safe environment for our patients, staff and community,” said Isley.
The hospital continues to strongly encourage vaccination in the community.
“More than 90% of our COVID patients over the last month have been unvaccinated,” said Dr. Priyank Desai, medical director for Pulmonology and Critical Care at Nash UNC Health Care. “We have yet to have a vaccinated patient in critical care, which suggests the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing severe illness.”