Eleven employees at Johnston Health in Clayton and Smithfield have resigned over the vaccine mandate requirements. An additional 10 full-time employees who did not meet the deadline to receive a COVID-19 vaccination are currently in a “vaccine probationary period.” They must be complaint by November 2, 2021 according to hospital officials.
A total of 95 percent of Johnston Health’s employees, including part-time, PRN (as needed) and contract workers, have been vaccinated or granted exemptions.
Alan Wolf, Director of News with UNC Health said, “Across UNC Health, we’ve now had about 80 employees resign who cited the vaccine requirement as their reason for leaving. We’re incredibly proud that we have confirmed vaccination status or granted exemptions for more than 98 percent of our employees. We take this vaccine requirement very seriously, and did not approve it lightly. UNC Health is grateful for the hard work and sacrifices of our more than 30,000 heroic health workers during the pandemic. We would rather avoid losing any employees.”
“We believe that requiring vaccines is in the best interest of public health and is essential for the safety of our patients, teammates and communities. This vaccine requirement is designed to provide a critical layer of protection for everyone. UNC Health is actively recruiting new staff for hundreds of open positions, and we constantly redeploy resources to ensure we can provide the best care for all patients,” Mr. Wolf said.
Johnston Health has a total of 1,850 employees. As of this week, Johnston Health has 63 vacancies at the Clayton hospital, 27 of those being full-time positions. In Smithfield, there are 148 vacancies with 81 of them being full-time positions. The remainder are part-time and PRN (as-needed) employees to support full-time staff.
“Making anything mandatory is not an easy task. It’s not something that I or anyone else takes lightly. A great deal of thought went into the decision, including the suffering and death that we have seen in our hospital and community caused by Covid-19 during the past year and a half,” stated Tom Williams, CEO & President of Johnston Health.
“I believe that we in health care are held to a higher standard. Our patients and families look to us for answers and guidance. We must set the example. Part of our role is to protect public health.”
In August, Johnston Health employees and their families held protests at both hospital campuses over the decision by administrators to require mandatory COVID vaccinations.