About 40 unvaccinated NCDHHS employees face termination, secretary says

Coronavirus

RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – More than 10,000 state employees at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. While the vast majority have gotten their shots, some will face termination for not doing so.

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DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said about 40 of those 10,000 employees have not gotten the shot.

The department first announced the vaccine mandate in July for all employees working at any of the 14 state-run health care facilities. At the time, 75 percent of those employees were vaccinated.

But as the Sept. 30 deadline passed, that number is now well over 99 percent.

“Workers for the state who are direct health care workers, they’re nurses, they’re doctors. So those are the folks who are required to be vaccinated,” Cohen said. “The fantastic news is that we are down to less than 40 people out of 10,000 who haven’t been vaccinated or had any sort of medical accommodation or other.”

Those 40 unvaccinated employees still face disciplinary action or termination for not getting vaccinated.

“I’m not done. We are working on those 40 people still before we have to do something in terms of escalating, in terms of separation from the department and no longer working with us,” Cohen said.

For other state employees who do not work in those state-run health care facilities, they must be vaccinated or test weekly.

“There’s a statewide system that not only tracks it not only for the Department of Health and Human Services, but every cabinet agency, so we are able to know who is able to upload their vaccine status and who hasn’t,” Cohen said.

When CBS 17 asked when the employees could face termination, a DHHS spokesperson responded with this statement:

“NCDHHS requires all employees, volunteers, students and trainees, as well as contracted and temporary workers working at state-operated facilities, be vaccinated by Sept. 30, 2021. As with any HR policy, those out of compliance shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, for unacceptable personal conduct. NCDHHS continues to support staff at every turn to protect themselves and others with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations. As the HR process is finalized, we will have a total number of compliant employees to share in the coming weeks.”

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