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Novant Health fires nearly 200 employees over vaccine mandate



Nearly 200 Novant Health employees have been fired after failing to comply with the hospital system’s vaccination requirement.

Last week, the Winston-Salem-based hospital system announced 375 employees had been suspended and given five days to comply with the mandate.

That deadline ended Friday. Nearly 200 of those employees came into compliance, spokeswoman Megan Rivers told the Observer in an email.

More than 99% of Novant Health’s 35,000-plus employees are now compliant with the vaccine mandate, including employees who have submitted an approved religious our medical vaccine exemption.

Novant workers who have gotten their first vaccine of a two-dose vaccine, either Pfizer or Moderna, have until Oct. 15 to get the second dose.

Fewer than 200 employees across 15 hospitals and more than 800 clinic locations and other facilities were still noncompliant after the Friday deadline, Rivers said.

Rivers did not give an exact number of noncompliant employees.

“We stand by our decision to make the vaccine mandatory as we have a responsibility to protect our patients, visitors and team members, regardless of where they are in our health system,” Novant Health said in a statement. “We couldn’t be prouder of our team members who made the choice to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and remain part of our team at Novant Health.”

Novant did not provide a breakdown of how many noncompliant employees work in the Charlotte region.

Employees who have an approved vaccine exemption must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, wear N95 masks or other PPE, and wear eye-protection while working on Novant Health premises, according to the hospital system. Novant Health declined last week to say how many exemptions were approved.

Charlotte’s largest hospital system, Atrium Health, also requires all employees to get vaccinated or apply for an approved medical or religious exemption. Atrium’s deadline for employees is Oct. 31.

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Hannah Smoot covers business in Charlotte, focusing on health care, aviation and sports business. She has been covering COVID-19 in North Carolina since March 2020. She previously covered money and power at The Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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