I’m astonished and completely bewildered that Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge (that’s Grace Hospital to most of us who’ve been around here a while) is not requiring its employees to be vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. What kind of public health care is that?
There have been 170 deaths in Burke County from Covid-19; any of us might stand to be No.171 should we need emergency care, treatment or tests at the local hospital where some of the employees apparently don’t want to get a shot, and their employers are not making them.
The pandemic virus has all but paralyzed this country for a year and a half, and just when we thought we were about to return to a normal way of life, a variant of the virus has emerged to attack again. The surge in cases is occurring is places where vaccination rates are low. More than 95 percent of people across the country who are now being hospitalized with the virus are those who have not been vaccinated.
Vaccinations have benefitted us for generations. Here in North Carolina, our school students are required to be immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, Hepatitis B and chicken pox. And it is because of these vital vaccinations that we no longer have plagues of these diseases.
How much clearer can we say this: if you’re not vaccinated, you’re putting yourself — and me — at risk. And, given how much more contagious the new Delta variant is, it’s also extremely likely you’ll pass it to someone else.
Yet, Kathy Bailey, president and CEO of the local hospital, was quoted in Sunday’s News Herald, saying, “Our No. 1 goal is to protect the health and safety of our teammates and patients.”
Ms. Bailey must think your readers are pretty darn stupid to buy into that kind of thinking.
These hospital networks in North Carolina are requiring their staffs to be vaccinated: Duke University Health network, Atrium Health (Charlotte), Greensboro-based Cone Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Winston-Salem-based Novant. Yet, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge (Grace) is not. I’d be curious to know the science, or the reasoning behind the decision to allow hospital employees to work unprotected.