BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Bladen County Commissioners stopped short of mandating masks or vaccines for county workers at a meeting Monday night.
Despite having vaccination rates below the state average, county commissioners voted not to require, but to “highly encourage” county employees get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The same language was used for wearing masks in county buildings.
Not all of the commissioners agreed with this outcome.
“Whenever we dropped those mandates… now, everything is trending in the wrong direction,” said commissioner Michael Cogdell. “So why not implement mandates back to see if you can get things trending in a downward motion?”
Commissioners also voted down a proposal to offer financial incentives to individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccine, or to people who drive a resident to receive the vaccine.
“If you’ve got to incentivize people, it sounds really encouraging but it’s not. You’re bribing them, you’re coercing them into something they may not want to do in the first place,” said Wayne Schaeffer, a resident of White Lake.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 42% of Bladen County’s adult population has received at least one dose and about 36% are fully vaccinated. The state’s average is 52% for one dose and 48% are fully vaccinated.
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