150 workers have not disclosed vaccine status at UNC Health; 1,000 given religious exemption

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — As of Tuesday, 99.4 percent of UNC Health employees have complied with the health system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

A spokesperson for UNC Health said there are still 150 employees who have not disclosed their vaccine status. If they don’t prove they’re vaccinated by the end of Tuesday, they risk losing their jobs.

“It’s a little sad to see, I guess to each their own,” said Mikayla Burk, an RN at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.

Burk lost her grandfather to COVID-19 and is part of the majority to comply with the vaccine mandate.

“That has changed my entire life and if I can do anything to help somebody stay safe and if I can help in any way possible, and if that means getting a vaccine that maybe I don’t know a ton about, then I’m gonna do it,” said Burk.

UNC Health added the COVID-19 shot to its list of required vaccines in July, when 72 percent of the health system’s 29,000 employees had voluntarily taken the vaccine.

By late September, the vaccine rate jumped to 95 percent and is now 99.5 percent.

About 1,000 employees were given an exemption for religious beliefs. Another 260 were granted an exemption for medical reasons. Another 120 quit their jobs over the vaccine mandate.

“I know what I want to do and if I’m working in a place where we’re trying to help people get better and we’re not following that, then I guess that’s not maybe what you’re meant to do,” said Burk.

UNC Health said the employees who resigned are from a wide range of departments, some of which worked in direct patient care. The health system will reshuffle staff, use temporary help, and continue recruitment to help cover those vacant positions.

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