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On track for its goal of 'organizational immunity,' NHC staff are now more vaccinated than the general population

A man receives a vaccination
New Hanover County announced its vaccine policy for employees in August, stopping short of a mandate.

During a presentation about the county’s spending of American Rescue Plan funds, County Manager Chris Coudriet finally shared the results of a survey to determine how many county staff are vaccinated.

The county set a goal at the beginning of August to get 75% of the county staff vaccinated by October 1. County Manager Chris Coudriet said that level would give the county's workforce "organizational immunity" — an apparent riff on 'herd immunity,' the idea of vaccinating enough of the population to effectively starve Covid-19 of new hosts through which it can spread.

The goal came alongside a policy requiring unvaccinated staff to submit to weekly Covid-testing. At the Tuesday county commission meeting, Coudriet announced that 71% of the staff are currently vaccinated.

"We hope and believe by the end of September we'll be in excess of our 75% goal," Coudriet said. "Our organization has rallied to the call. So the scale of testing is much less than we imagined.”

Just 65% of New Hanover County’s entire adult population is fully vaccinated, by comparison.

The county is setting aside nearly $1.5 million dollars for covid testing, but Coudriet said it’s unlikely that the full amount will be spent. That budget was set with the assumption that 800 staff would be unvaccinated, but the current number is actually 373.

For information on where to get a free COVID-19 vaccine, go to myspot.nc.gov.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.