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New Hanover Health and Human Services Board recommends mandating vaccinations for county employee

To understand vaccine-induced immunity more fully, researchers are comparing antibody levels in people who received the Moderna vaccine but still got COVID-19 with levels in people who got the vaccine but didn't fall ill.
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To understand vaccine-induced immunity more fully, researchers are comparing antibody levels in people who received the Moderna vaccine but still got COVID-19 with levels in people who got the vaccine but didn't fall ill.

The county board called a special meeting on Monday morning to discuss the latest CDC guidance in light of the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19. The board recommended mandatory vaccines for 'eligible' county employees — and testing and masks for the unvaccinated.

According to the CDC's latest guidance, vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor areas in any county with 'substantial' or 'high' levels of Covid-19 transmission — New Hanover is ranked 'substantial' by the CDC.

In response, the board passed the following motion:

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.

The board defined 'eligible' as those without "legitimate medical or religious exemption," and added that employees should be required to provide verification of their vaccination or sign an information release form to allow a vaccine record can be accessed.

The board also recommended that unvaccinated employees get weekly Covid-19 tests, wear masks, and physically distance themselves from others.

Other recommendations include "reasonable accommodations" to mitigate financial hardships related to the mandate — as well as encouraging other public sector employers (i.e. City of Wilmington, the beach towns, CFPUA, WAVE transit, etc.).

According to a county spokesperson, "county leadership will be reviewing and discussing this recommendation over the coming days, to ensure the recommendation is fully vetted and questions have been answered before any decision is made and any action is taken."

Below: Letter to county management from the NHC HHS Board.