Duke, UNC Health mandates spur hundreds of employee vaccinations within a week

Vaccine mandates at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Health System and Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health resulted in hundreds more vaccinations among their employees.

Duke University Health System, a three-hospital system, announced July 22 that it would require vaccination for employees, with a compliance deadline of Sept. 21. UNC Health announced the same day that it would require employees at UNC Medical Center, UNC Rex Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, UNC Health Southeastern, UNC Rockingham Health Care, UNC Physicians Network Practices and UNC Health Shared Services locations to get vaccinated. The deadline for employees at that system is Sept. 21 as well.

Since July 22, at least 650 UNC Health employees have been vaccinated, according to a statement shared with Becker's

"The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective. They are the most important tools available to avoid serious illness, hospitalization and death. We are pleased to see more employees rolling up their sleeves to protect themselves and their loved ones, their patients and their teammates," the system said. 

As of Aug. 3, more than 72 percent of about 40,000 employees across UNC Health had been vaccinated. But the health system said numbers are likely to change as it begins to gather more detailed vaccination data — for example, collecting information about employees who have been vaccinated in the community, outside of UNC Health.

At Duke University Health System, 470 employees received their first vaccination — and 73 employees received their second one — between July 26 and Aug. 1.  

"This is really about safety and the tremendous responsibility we have as healthcare providers in caring for our community," Katie Galbraith, president of Duke Regional Hospital, told news station WNCT

The mandate was opposed by some employees, according to the report.

"Everyone has the right to refuse," Kasie Barrett, an employee of Duke University Health System, told WNCT.

Duke University Health System has about 22,300 employees. The health system said more than 75 percent of staff were vaccinated before the mandate (77 percent at Duke University Hospital). With the additional vaccinations, the vaccination rate is nearing 80 percent, it said.


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