Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations recommended for New Hanover County employees

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board is recommending COVID-19 vaccinations be mandatory for eligible New Hanover County employees.

The board met on Monday morning to discuss new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for COVID-19. A motion mandating vaccines was passed.

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It reads as follows:

“With the information presented and understanding that COVID-19 remains a threat to New Hanover County public health, economy, and way of life, the Health and Human Services Board recommends COVID-19 vaccinations be mandated for all eligible New Hanover County employees.”

Eligible was defined as all employees other than those with a legitimate medical or religious exemption.

The HHS board also recommends that employees be required to provide verification of vaccination or sign a release of information so that records can be accessed.

They also encourage consideration by New Hanover County public sector employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for their employees.

Unvaccinated employees will undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, wear masks and practice physical distancing.

We reached out to Commissioner Julia Olson Boseman, who attended that board meeting. She replied in part, “…The HHS board is an advisory board made up of numerous medical experts, so their advice to management is important. However, it will ultimately be the county administration who decides what next steps or administrative policy actions are taken.”

In an interview, the board member and commissioner added she voted to recommend the measure, saying, “I do think it’s the right thing to do, because you know you think about it. We’re in hurricane season. The last thing we need is to have a lot of our employees getting sick and be out. We need to think about the welfare of all the citizens of New Hanover County. You know it’s more than just about our employees, it’s about all our citizens.”

New Hanover County staff will meet Tuesday to discuss details. The county should have a decision by the end of the week.