‘I was devastated.’ Atrium and Novant Health require employees to get vaccinated, issue deadline

Nation and World News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The two major Charlotte hospital systems are requiring workers to get COVID-19 vaccines, and it’s not just healthcare tackling the issue.

An employment attorney tells FOX 46 there is no law against a private company requiring the vaccine in North Carolina.

“I just found out and I was devastated,” said Brianna Isham, a healthcare worker who’s upset over a mandated vaccine for workers at some North Carolina hospitals.

“I am concerned the vaccines are being pushed when they don’t have FDA approval,” said Isham.

North Carolina is an ‘employment at will’ state, which the attorney says means a company has the right to fire you for any reason unless it’s an illegal one. Atrium Health says all of its employees must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption.

Atrium says they don’t view this as any different from other requirements like the flu shot or measles and chicken pox vaccines. And Novant Health is requiring employees to get the shot by September 15.

Novant Health says right now about 67% of their employees have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We were getting a number of calls from people who were asking about their rights to the point where we did a boiler plate explanation for our receptionist for people who called and had the question about whether the employer could make them get vaccinated and basically said we think they have the right to do that right now under North Carolina law,” said Largess.

It’s a different game in the NFL that could impact the Carolina Panthers.

The NFL says if a game can’t be rescheduled and is canceled due to a virus outbreak among unvaccinated players that team will have to forfeit and will be credited with a loss and that means the players don’t get paid.

Largess says the Players Association likely discussed this with the league before the announcement was made.

“To me the more interesting is the cultural effect of the NFL taking that position where a huge number of football supporters are probably not supporters of the vaccine and to see their favorite players on the sideline or a team postponed for a week, to see how that plays out culturally is going to be really interesting to me,” said Largess.

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