Halifax County wants to join other health departments in mandating COVID-19 vaccine


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Should COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory for those that work in public health? Mecklenburg County voted yes, requiring all health department employees to be vaccinated.

Halifax County Health Director Bruce Robistow wants to do the same.

“We need to be 100 percent vaccinated,” Robistow said.

To do that, Robistow wants to make the vaccine mandatory for his 66 employees. He said about 60 percent of them are now, but he said that is not good enough.

“Since we’re on the frontlines to care for folks, I feel compelled that all people that work in healthcare need too fully vaccinated,” the director said.

Robistow points to the numbers.

In Halifax County, only 39 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

The number of those testing positive for COVID-19 is increasing quickly.

He said six people are in the hospital being treated for the virus.

So what about Wake County?

“There’s been a lot of new information really in just the last 48 hours and so what are health department folks are doing is actively culling through that information and that data and looking at best practices nationwide that are emerging,” Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Matt Calabria said.

Calabria points out vaccination rates are higher in Wake County.

According to the state’s website, 58 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. The county’s website shows the trajectory of positive cases is on the rise.

“I expect within a few days we’re going to be a recommendation from our experts,” Calabria said.

Calabria could not say how many health department employees have received a shot.

In Durham County, 56 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Their website shows 193 active cases.

In a statement, the Health Department said, “We are actively considering vaccination needs for our staff and the people we serve. We continue to prioritize the health and safety of the Durham community, and we are working alongside our county leadership to determine if mandatory staff vaccinations will become necessary.”

Robistow said he’s drafting a proposal.

The Board of Health still needs to approve it. He would also like to see it required for county employees. The Board would need to approve it and then it would have to go before county commissioners.

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