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Vidant Health will require the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment for all team members, physicians, credentialed providers and contract workers.

The health system said in a statement today it has “carefully reviewed national, state and local data and it is clear the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and greatly reduce the severity of the virus and/or hospitalizations in those who become infected.”

Vidant said the decision is grounded in science, backed by industry leaders such as the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association and the North Carolina Healthcare Association, and “is the right thing to do to ensure the safety of our patients, team members and communities.”

The timeline is as follows:

October 1 to complete the vaccine series for leaders — managers and above — physicians and credentialed providers

December 1 to complete the vaccine series for team members, new hires and contract workers Exemptions

In addition to other important safety measures like the flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine will become a condition of employment; which means in order to be employed by or work at Vidant, team members must be vaccinated by the deadlines outlined above or have an approved medical or religious exemption. 

Ongoing requirements for those meeting medical/religious exemptions may include weekly testing and potential reassignment away from working on units with immuno-compromised patients.

“Meeting the mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina means taking all necessary actions to combat and hopefully end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 600,000 American lives,” the health system said. “Several hospitals and health systems in North Carolina, and many across the nation, have already announced vaccine requirements for their team members. It is the right thing to do for the safety of all, especially as the variants prove to be more transmissible and severe for those not vaccinated.”