Mecklenburg EMS mandates COVID-19 vaccines

The Charlotte, N.C. agency is implementing a deadline for all employees to get the vaccine or submit religious or medical exemptions


Hannah Smoot
The Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Medic is now requiring employees to get COVID-19 vaccines, the Mecklenburg EMS Agency said on Twitter Wednesday.

And the agency is reporting a big spike in COVID-19 ambulance transports.

Mecklenburg EMS is implementing a deadline for all employees to get the vaccine or submit religious or medical exemptions
Mecklenburg EMS is implementing a deadline for all employees to get the vaccine or submit religious or medical exemptions (www.mecknc.gov)

Confirmed COVID-19 average transports per day are up 300% compared to the last two weeks, Medic said on Twitter.

On average, the agency is transporting 12 people a day with COVID-19, Medic added.

Three Medic employees are currently in isolation with the coronavirus, according to the agency. Some 76% of Medic’s 569 employees are vaccinated, the agency said on Twitter.

The agency requested that all employees get the vaccine or submit religious or medical exemptions in June, according to Medic’s Twitter statement.

Now, Medic is implementing a deadline for its employees: exemption forms must be in by Sept. 30 and the deadline to be fully vaccinated is Oct. 22.

Still, if employees do not get a vaccine by then, that doesn’t mean they would be automatically terminated, spokeswoman Grace Nelson said.

If the employee doesn’t get the vaccine and doesn’t fill out the exemption form, they could face consequences on a “case by cases basis,” Nelson said in an email.

“It could mean attempting to address employee concerns or individual needs, factoring it into performance review evaluations, taking them off the schedule temporarily or potential disciplinary measures,” Nelson said.

The ambulance agency’s vaccination requirement announcement comes nearly two weeks after Charlotte’s major hospital systems, Atrium Health and Novant Health, detailed similar mandates.

Atrium Health will require all workers — including remote workers, physicians, medical residents, faculty, fellows, trainees, contractors, medical staff, students, temporary workers and volunteer staff — to get vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption by Oct. 31.

And Novant Health will require the same for all of its employees, contractors, vendors and students by Sept. 15.

All of the vaccine requirements come as Mecklenburg County and state officials warn residents of spiking COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, especially as cases of the highly contagious delta COVID-19 variant climb.

On Tuesday, Mecklenburg County logged its largest single-day increase of new infections since February, with 502 new cases, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

And last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that even fully vaccinated people should begin wearing masks in public indoors again.

That’s because new research shows fully vaccinated people can still spread the delta variant to others, CDC officials said.

(c)2021 The Charlotte Observer


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