Mecklenburg County Public Health Announces Plans To Vaccinate All Health Department Staff Against COVID-19

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Mecklenburg County Public Health Department announced Monday that all of their employees will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Aug. 2, 2021, and must show proof of vaccination by Sept. 7, 2021.

“The vaccine is what’s really going to help us get out of this pandemic,” said Gibbie Harris, the Mecklenburg County Health Director.

On Monday, Mecklenburg County Public Health made the decision to require all health department employees to get vaccinated in the coming weeks.

“We see the numbers going up. We know what it could look like. And we don’t want to go there again. So if we can prevent that from happening. That’s what we’d like to do,” explained Harris.

The decision was made to ensure the health and safety of Mecklenburg County residents, Public Health employees, as the wider community continues to be a top priority for Mecklenburg County Public Health, according to the health department.

“As public health staff, we have led the COVID-19 response efforts for the County and know too well the very high level of sickness, death, and impact the pandemic has had in our community,” said Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. “Despite significant prevention efforts, COVID-19 continues to spread in our community, including new highly contagious variants.”

According to the release, since there is currently a COVID-19 vaccine widely available in the community that has been shown to be highly safe and effective at preventing infection and spread of COVID-19, Public Health feels confident that this effort will protect patients as well as staff.

Some online have cautioned that a hard line stance could drive good medical professionals out of the business.

“We’re hoping that it’s not going to happen,” said Harris.

But Harris says she doesn’t envision many issues locally.

“What is in our policy is that there will be disciplinary action,” explained Harris, “but we’re not going to fire someone for that.”

A spokesperson for Governor Roy Cooper’s office tells WCCB, “the governor is not yet planning any additional statewide measures at this time.”

Harris says public health employees currently are required to take the influenza vaccine.

She says the new requirement is being initiated to help keep employees, clients, and the workplace safe and will protect the health of the whole community.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available at www.MeckNC.gov/COVID-19 or by calling the Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 980-314-9400.