RALEIGH – Things progress quickly these days. Just last week, Governor Roy Cooper was announcing his plan to let statewide mask mandates expire; this week health care organizations and state health facilities are issuing vaccine mandates for all workers.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) confirmed Tuesday that it will issue a vaccine mandate for all employees, volunteers, students, trainees, and temporary or contract workers at all state-operated health facilities. Religious exemptions are available, but must be applied for by September 1.
This comes after a wave of large North Carolina hospital systems announced the adoption of a mandate and scores of national health associations called for vaccine mandates for all healthcare workers.
The building wave has many unnerved that more general vaccine mandates are on the horizon.
N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-NC) didn’t mince words when speaking out against such mandates, saying:
“I have personally been vaccinated against COVID-19, and I have done my best to help educate the public and urge others to get vaccinated if they choose to do so. But at the end of the day, the decision whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one and should be made between a doctor and patient. North Carolinians will not be bullied into being vaccinated against their will, particularly with a vaccine that has yet to be approved by the FDA. Our healthcare workers are certainly capable of weighing the risks and benefits and can make their own decision about the vaccine. This mandate could force healthcare workers to choose between their employment and their conscience. Now is not the time to risk losing any of our healthcare workers who have been at the front lines of this pandemic.”
Indeed, there is resistance to vaccine mandates among many health workers. Duke Health Systems employees are planning to protest the vaccine mandate in Durham on July 30. Others are bound to follow as the mandate spreads completely through the state.
On the federal level, too, mandates are here. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration will require all federal workers to get vaccinated.
It certainly feels like we’re hurdling for a more generalized vaccine mandate, but first they need just a little time to shove Overton’s Window into a more agreeable position.