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Atrium Health cancels 97 employee COVID-19 vaccinations after public scrutiny

Atrium Health said Thursday it has canceled 97 planned COVID-19 vaccinations for employees who aren't on the front lines of the pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Atrium Health confirmed that 97 employee-scheduled COVID-19 vaccinations have been canceled after they discovered those vaccinations were planned before workers on the front lines were able to get theirs. 

Atrium made the announcement after WCNC Charlotte discovered non-medical staff were scheduled to receive vaccinations. Despite scrutiny, Atrium said they can assure the public the only employees who have been vaccinated so far were part of the Phase 1a group, which was comprised of front-line health care employees. 

“I can assure you that the only people who have received vaccines by Atrium Health were categorized by (Phase) 1a...” Dr. Scott Rissmiller, Atrium’s executive vice president and chief physician executive, told the Charlotte Observer. “The key is to get those most at risk and those who are on the frontlines risking their lives for the community. We get the vaccine to them so they can care for those who need it as others are waiting.”

Atrium also said they've revised their plan for the coronavirus vaccine rollout to exclude non-frontline workers from Phase 1a.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, "Phase 1a vaccines will first go to health care workers critical to caring for patients with COVID-19 or at high risk for COVID-19 exposure because of their work duties."

 That includes people:                                                

  • caring for patients with COVID-19
  • working directly in areas where patients with COVID-19 are cared for, including staff responsible for cleaning, providing food service, and maintenance in those areas
  • performing procedures at high risk of aerosolization on patients with COVID-19 (e.g., intubation, bronchoscopy, suctioning, invasive dental procedures, invasive specimen collection, CPR)
  • handling decedents with COVID-19

RELATED: Mecklenburg County Public Health receives COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Atrium Health vaccinating non-patient-facing employees, as other critical groups wait