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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – More than 170 Novant Health employees were fired for non-compliance with the health system’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program after a five-day suspension period, officials said.
Last week, officials said about 375 Novant Health employees across 15 hospitals, 800 clinics, and hundreds of outpatient facilities had been confirmed to be non-compliant with the vaccination program and could not report to work, a press release stated.
“By not getting vaccinated, they voluntarily resigned from Novant Health and we accepted that,” Dr. Priest said. “That’s just a standard for our patients’ safety. I don’t want to speculate if they will take legal action but based on our experience with other vaccines, there is certainly a legal president for healthcare systems to take the steps necessary to ensure they don’t harm patients and team members.”
Those employees had the opportunity to comply over a five-day unpaid suspension period, health system officials said.
“If a team member remains non-compliant after this five-day suspension period, he or she will have their employment with Novant Health terminated,” a statement read.
On Monday, Novant Health officials confirmed that nearly 200 additional team members came into compliance over the suspension period, increasing the compliant rate across Novant Health to over 99%.
However, the remaining members who did not come into compliance after the suspension period have now been fired, officials confirmed.
According to Novant Health, approximately 99% of the more than 35,000 Novant Health staffers are compliant with the mandatory vaccine program.
Team members are considered compliant if they have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or if they applied for, and were granted, a medical or religious exemption.
Employees who have started a two-dose vaccine series have until Oct. 15 to get their second dose and remain in compliance, a press release stated.
Novant Health team members who have been granted a medical or religious exemption are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear N95 respirator masks or other appropriate PPE, and eye-wear protection while working on the health system’s premises, staff said.
The health care system announced the mandatory vaccination program earlier this summer.
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