Aims to protect staff, residents and visitors from the virus
With the Delta variant now causing a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, mainly among the unvaccinated, Wake County Manager David Ellis today announced that all Wake County Government employees must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15 or get tested weekly for the fast-spreading virus.
Wake County joins multiple North Carolina government agencies, corporate employers, healthcare systems and municipalities in this effort to protect staff, residents, patients and customers.
“I wouldn’t be encouraging our employees to get vaccinated if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do,” said Ellis, who received the Johnson & Johnston vaccine in March from Wake County EMS personnel at PNC Arena. “We’ve led the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 since it first appeared in our community, and this is the next step we must take to protect our 4,200 employees and the people they serve every day.”
To date, more than 76% of adults in Wake County have received at least one vaccine dose. But despite significant prevention efforts, COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, thanks to the new Delta variant, which is more than 60% more contagious than previous variants. The data show that getting vaccinated is the best way to slow the spread of the virus, and that is why Wake County is offering incentives to encourage staff who haven’t gotten vaccinated to roll up their sleeve and take their shot.
Wake County Government employees who are already fully vaccinated or get fully vaccinated by Sept. 15 will receive $250 and two days of bonus leave.
They must attest to receiving either a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to receive the incentives. The county will verify the attestation against state records to ensure the claims are truthful and accurate. The funding for the financial incentive comes from the allotment received from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.
“As a county government, we have a responsibility to protect our workforce and those we serve – some of whom are at high risk for COVID-19 complications,” said Dr. Jose Cabanas, Wake County’s Chief Medical Officer. “By offering these incentives, we can increase our vaccinate rates, which will help safeguard the health of our community and reduce the strain the virus is putting on our local hospitals.”
Employees who choose not to get fully vaccinated by the Sept. 15 deadline must get tested weekly for COVID-19, starting Sept. 20. This requirement will remain in place until the county’s positivity rate is less than 5% and there is no significant or high community transmission.
Public health experts are available to provide more information to any employee who may have questions about vaccines. Free shots are available six days a week at Wake County clinic locations with no appointments necessary. For more information, visit WakeGov.com/vaccine.