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The debate over vaccine requirements for Triad hospital staff continues

Some are deciding whether to take the shot or risk losing their jobs. Others are trying help those coworkers get on board.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Vaccine mandates for employees at the Triad's three largest hospital systems continue to draw reactions from staff and the public.

Cone Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant Health all said employees will need to get COVID-19 vaccines by fall. If they don't, they'll be fired.

"I'm not against people doing what they want to do with the vaccine but to force us to do it, we got a problem," a man who identified himself only as Rodney said.

Rodney stood outside of Cone Health's Alamance Regional Medical Center to protest the requirement. He said his wife has worked there for nearly two decades.

"This is what she loves to do," Rodney said, "This is her whole life, it's what she went to college for. Just to have it taken away because you choose not to be vaccinated, what's the world coming to?"

On the flip side, Shelly Barber is part of the 62 percent of Cone Health employees who have gotten the shot.

"I certainly respect that there have been people that have just wanted to wait," Barber said, "Whatever choice you make is a decision that you make for yourself."

The long-time nurse said the choice to get her vaccine was an easy one for her to make. She is the Senior Manager of Patient Experience at Cone Health.

She made the difficult calls to families of the sickest COVID-19 patients, while their loved ones were in isolation.

She also helped the public get vaccinated while working at the Greensboro Coliseum vaccine clinic earlier this year.

"For me, not to do the right thing and get a vaccine which could prevent other people I come in to contact with from having that experience just, it wasn't even a thought in my mind. This is just what we go do," Barber said.

She thinks many will comply with Cone Health's vaccine requirement and admits some will leave. She also thinks everyone's concerns should be heard.

" Let us know all of your fears and worries because if we don't know what's at the heart of your fear or worry, we can't answer it," Barber said, "You're important here. We want you to be here. We also want you to be safe."

The deadline for Cone Health employees to get vaccinated is October 1. It's September 15 for Novant Health and October 31 for Wake Forest Baptist Health.