Thursday, June 13, 2024

Local reps among group asking hospital execs to reverse mandatory vaccinations

A group of more than 50 House Republicans is asking several hospital CEOs that operate in North Carolina to reverse their recent mandatory vaccination decision for their employees. (Courtesy New Hanover County)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. –– Rep. Charlie Miller (R-Brunswick/New Hanover) and Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) are among 55 House Republicans who signed a letter addressed to hospital executives, asking them to reconsider mandatory vaccinations for employees.

The Thursday letter is addressed to the CEOs of a network of health providers in N.C., including Novant Health, which issued its mandatory vaccination notice on July 22.

RELATED: Vaccinations mandatory at Novant Health, currently with a 67% inoculation rate

Novant (which purchased New Hanover Regional Medical Center in February) is giving its employees until Sept. 15 to comply. At the time of the announcement, 67% of Novant’s employees were vaccinated systemwide, higher than the overall state vaccination rate, at 47% as of Thursday.

With 7,500 employees in New Hanover County, the hospital is the largest employer and Brunswick County’s sixth-largest, with between 500 and 1,000 employees, according to state data.

The legislators told the CEOs they hear from countless employees who say they feel blindsided by the decision. Lawmakers characterize the move as “rushed and hasty” as the systems hurried to become the first in the state to require Covid-19 vaccinations for their employees.

They cite the state’s struggling nursing labor gap, with hundreds of open positions at Duke Health and UNC Health. The decision is “unwise and unfair to the brave healthcare professionals who have sacrificed so much over the past year and half on the frontlines of the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote.

In a Facebook post, Rep. Miller said his office has seen an upswing in inquiries related to the mandatory healthcare vaccination requirements. “While we respect the rights of private employers; it is a blatant overstep on an individual’s right to make their own medical decisions based on their personal convictions,” he wrote.

View the Aug. 5 letter below:

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