FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cape Fear Valley Health is the latest North Carolina health care system to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.

The mandate, announced Thursday morning, applies to employees, physicians, students, vendors, and volunteers.

The deadline to be vaccinated is Oct. 1.

Cape Fear Valley Health said employees can apply for exemptions for medical or religious reasons, similar to those available for other required vaccines.

“The vaccine has proven to be safe and effective, and the data shows it reduces the severity of the virus and significantly lessens the risk of COVID-related hospitalizations for those who are exposed to the virus,” said Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski. “The overwhelming body of scientific evidence supports our decision that mandatory vaccination is the right choice at this time.”

Nagowski said employees will not be required to use their vacation time to get their vaccines.

Cape Fear Valley Health’s announcement comes the same day that 55 North Carolina House Republicans sent a letter to other health care system CEOs saying they need to reevaluate the mandate.

Other health care systems, like UNC Health, WakeMed and Duke University Health Systems, implemented similar mandates in late July.