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AppHealthCare Requiring the COVID-19 Vaccine for Employees by October 31

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, the AppHealthCare Board of Health, covering Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga Counties, approved a policy to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all AppHealthCare employees, contractors, students and volunteers.

This policy will require staff to show proof of full vaccination by October 31, 2021. Any medical and/or religious exemptions to the policy must be submitted by October 1, 2021. The staff who have an approved exemption are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 screening testing and wear a mask.

“The Board of Health took action to require the COVID-19 vaccine for AppHealthCare employees, contractors, students and volunteers because we know vaccinations are the best way to build a path out of this pandemic. As the local public health agency for our district, we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and are continuing to help prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. We hope this action will encourage others to get vaccinated and for businesses, agencies and organizations to consider how they can encourage employees to get vaccinated. We are committed to AppHealthCare being a safe place for everyone in our community to seek services, and this vaccine requirement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to public health and safety,” stated David Triplett, Chairman of the AppHealthCare Board of Health.

We are hopeful that with increased vaccination in our communities, we will be able to better control this virus and not have it disrupt so many aspects of our life. We continue to urge people to get vaccinated and not wait. We understand people have questions around the vaccines, and we encourage you to speak with trusted sources like your healthcare provider or call our COVID-19 Call Center at (828) 795-1970, and we would be happy to help answer your questions.

How can my business, agency or organization promote vaccination?

● Encourage your employees to get a vaccine ○ AppHealthCare offers COVID-19 vaccines by walk-in or appointment Monday through Friday. Walk-in hours for vaccines are 1:00-4:00pm. If you choose to walk-in for a vaccine, you may have to wait. In order to lessen your wait time, please schedule an appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (828) 795-1970. More information: www.apphealthcare.com/covid-19-vaccinations.

● Consider requiring the COVID-19 vaccine among other vaccines like the flu vaccine. With the upcoming flu season, vaccinations will be very important to keeping our workforce and community healthy and safe.

● Consider incentives for employees to get vaccinated. Incentives could include allowing time off for people to get vaccinated or hosting a staff meeting to provide information about the vaccines. There are benefits to employers who require vaccines which include reduced costs from absences due to illness and improved productivity from employees missing less time away from work due to illness.

● Promote and distribute factual information about the vaccines. Use information and data from trusted sources like the CDC, NC DHHS, AppHealthCare and other healthcare providers.