Nearly 100% of Duke Health employees vaccinated against COVID-19

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Duke Health said Wednesday that nearly 100% of their employees complied with their COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Less than 20 employees didn't comply and left the hospital.

Duke Health officials said in a statement:

"We are incredibly proud of the commitment our team members have made to embody our core value of caring for our patients, their loved ones, and each other. As of today, nearly 100% of Duke University Health System employees have complied with the COVID vaccination requirement. While any loss of staff is undesirable, we have identified fewer than 20 people who elected not to initiate vaccination requirements during the seven-day unpaid leave period, resulting in their departure from Duke University Health System."

"Every one of our team members is valuable and so we certainly feel any loss that we have and that we are able to absorb this work right now so, so it will not have an impact on patient care. And we're able to absorb it. But we certainly regret any, any loss of team members," said Katie Galbraith, Duke Regional Hospital President.

At UNC Health, 98% of employees have now confirmed their vaccination status or been granted exemptions. 80 employees resigned out of more than 30,000.

"I want to take my hat off to all the folks in our system and at our partner systems around the state, where the workforce has gone forth and got vaccinated, protected one another and protected the patients," said Dr. Matt Ewend, UNC Health Chief Clinical Officer. "The fundamental measurement of the success of the vaccine mandate is whether it protects our co- workers and it protects our patients and we've certainly seen a much lower rate of absence of workers due to COVID-related illness or exposure. So we believe the mandate works. We didn't want to lose a single employee as a result of this. So the 80 folks that have resigned over the mandate are a loss for us. We're a big organization and we've been able to accommodate those losses, but we didn't want that."

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The hospital system is still trying to track down the status of about 350 employees.

"We've been able to keep huge amounts of our clinical operation running and the resignation of those 80 employees has not negatively impacted that," Dr. Ewend said. "But I think every healthcare system is feeling the impact of a shrinking workforce and most of that is not related to the workforce vaccine requirements that you see many healthcare systems put in place, as we have."

WakeMed estimates 80 percent of their employees are vaccinated but they have until Nov. 12 to comply.

United Airlines will fire nearly 600 employees for not getting their COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 99 percent of their U.S.-based employees are vaccinated.

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