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'A risk we're willing to take to protect people' | Cone Health CEO on possibility of losing staff over vaccine mandate

At this point, 62% of Cone Health employees have been vaccinated.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Three Triad hospital systems will require employees to get a coronavirus vaccine. Those hospital systems include Cone Health, Novant Health, and Wake Forest Baptist Health. 

Atrium Health, Duke Health, and UNC Health hospitals will also require employees to be immunized against COVID-19, according to a release from the North Carolina Healthcare Association. 

RELATED: 6 NC hospital systems to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The decision is due in part to the rise of the Delta variant.

Cone Health CEO Mary Jo Cagle said they don't expect to lose many employees, but even if they do it is a risk they are willing to take.

"We don't want to lose a staff member and we don't want to give this infection to anyone who comes to us for care," Cagle said.

RELATED: Novant, Atrium to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Starting July 30, Cone Health will require all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We're going to spend time talking to our employees about this and answering their questions about why they may have decided against getting the vaccine and helping them understand the facts," Cagle said.

The CEO said this decision is not a new one.

"We've been requiring vaccinations for a long time," Cagle said. "We require vaccinations for the flu, we require vaccinations for measles, mumps, hepatitis, so this is not a new position, it's just a new vaccine."

Cagle said religious and legitimate medical reasons are exemptions for employees not to get vaccinated. She also said if they don't meet this criterion, workers won't have jobs anymore.

RELATED: What's happening now and what's next for COVID-19 in North Carolina

“They ultimately won’t have a job here if they don’t get vaccinated and it’s not for medical or religious reasons, and we don’t want to take that step. We want to help them come to a decision to get vaccinated," Cagle said.

"We may lose a few people that ultimately chose not to get vaccinated, that's a possibility, and it's a risk we're willing to take to protect people on a wider scale," she added.

Some employees did not want to go on camera but told WFMY News 2 they do not agree with the decision.

"I personally don't feel like it should be mandatory just because people have different beliefs, and the vaccine doesn't agree with everyone's beliefs and you have to think about, take account of people who are on medications, so I don't agree, but I understand," Cone Health employee Cam Cole said.

At this point, 62% of Cone Health employees have been vaccinated.