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'We cannot contribute to that number': Novant employees face deadline to be fully vaccinated

Overall, 99% of Novant Health's workforce is fully vaccinated or considered exempt. Last month, the company fired around 175 employees for violating the mandate.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Novant Health employees have until Friday, Oct. 15 to get their second COVID-19 vaccine dose or face possible termination for violating the company's mandate. 

Last month, around 175 workers were fired for not complying with the mandate. Novant said employees were given a five-day suspension to receive the first dose or they would face termination. Nearly 200 employees who were not vaccinated received their first dose during that period. Overall, 99% of Novant's workforce was in compliance with the mandate. 

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The mandate comes as the health care industry is already stretched thin. Hospital staff members are working extra hours and many are feeling burnout. One Union County nurse told WCNC Charlotte the pandemic is a "never-ending nightmare." 

Novant employees who qualify for a medical or religious exemption will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing and must wear proper protective equipment at all times on the job. 

"There are 680,000 Americans who have died," Dr. David Priest, an infectious disease expert with Novant Health, said. "We cannot contribute to that number a single time. One is too many." 

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