Eighteen state workers fired under North Carolina order mandating COVID shot or weekly testing

Published 6:54 am Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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Eighteen North Carolina state workers been fired over their refusal to comply with an executive order Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper issued this summer compelling employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or be tested weekly, as of Dec. 17.

The North Carolina Office of State Human Resources provided the dismissal figure to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The 18 fired state employees include six workers from the Department of Health and Human Services, five from the Department of Public Safety, three from the Department of Transportation and one each from four other cabinet-level agencies. They represent just 0.03% of the workforce Cooper’s order covers.

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Under a separate directive, the state health department in October announced it dismissed 16 workers at state-operated healthcare facilities but did not immediately share with the AP whether more employees have since been fired.

The latest human resources report shows nearly 77% of the more than 53,000 cabinet-level employees included in Cooper’s order are vaccinated, with the transportation and public safety departments having the lowest vaccination rates at 64% and 67%, respectively.

“The vast, vast majority of them are in compliance with the executive order, and that means either being vaccinated or tested,” Cooper said in a news conference last week.