Hundreds of Charlotte-area healthcare workers and supporters protested Sunday against Atrium Health’s new coronavirus vaccination policy.
The protest from Freedom Park to Atrium Health - Main was organized to stand against the mandated vaccinations issued for Atrium Health employees.
Atrium Health, one of the biggest healthcare systems in Charlotte, recently announced its employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The hospital system said there’s an urgent need for its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as the new, more potent delta variant continues to spread locally and throughout the state.
“We view it as essential that each of our teammates receive their vaccination to protect themselves, their families and the people in their care,” Atrium Health said in a statement.
The hospital system said the COVID-19 vaccine should not be viewed any differently than its requirements for employees to get an annual flu shot, as well as be vaccinated for measles, chicken pox and other infectious diseases.
“We have started communicating to all of our teammates (including remote workers, physicians, medical residents, faculty, fellows, trainees, contractors, students/visiting students, members of the medical staff, temporary workers and volunteer staff) that they must be fully vaccinated or have an approved medical or religious exemption,” Atrium said in a statement.
The hospital system said new variants of COVID-19 are contributing to a 200% increase in hospitalizations – and, among their patients, 99% of those hospitalized in recent weeks have been those who are unvaccinated.
“By making the vaccine mandatory for our teammates, Atrium Health, including Wake Forest Baptist Health and Atrium Health Navicent, and along with multiple other health systems across the region, are taking reasonable steps to make sure that our teammates – many of whom remain on the frontlines, interacting directly with people who have COVID – are protected and available to care for members of the community as we deal with the next phases of the pandemic,” Atrium said in the statement.