Breaking News
More () »

61% of Atrium Health Navicent staff fully vaccinated with 5 weeks away from deadline

1,860 Atrium Health Navicent employees remain unvaccinated as of Sept. 10., according to HealthData.gov

MACON, Ga. — Halloween is the deadline for Atrium Health Navicent personnel to be fully vaccinated, so we're about five weeks away. 

As we reported in late July, the North Carolina-based healthcare system announced it would require the more than 70,000 employees across its 40 hospitals get vaccinated.

How much of Atrium Health Navicent's staff are fully vaccinated?

According to the most recent data, only 61-percent of the hospital employees are fully vaccinated.  

Each Friday, HealthData.gov reports the latest vaccination rates among hospital personnel for systems across the country.

For Atrium Health Navicent, the most recent data is from September 10.

The report shows 1,860 employees remain unvaccinated. That's 27.5-percent of Navicent personnel. 736 are partially vaccinated. 4,148 employees out of their 6,744 are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Elizabeth Penn, a NICU doctor, says she is fully vaccinated and has a message for co-workers hesitant about getting their doses.

"I would say, 'Please, go get your vaccine so that we can all continue to work and help each other and protect our families ourselves our kids and our patients,'" Penn said. 

Terry Sandefur, a front desk clerk at Atrium, also rolled up her sleeve, but she says if it wasn't for this mandate, she would have waited to get her shots.

"Well, I was going to quit," Sandefur said, "But then, the more I see where other companies are coming up and saying they're going to require it anyway, it wouldn't do any good."

HealthData.gov's latest report comes just weeks after roughly 70 protestors, mostly Atrium employees, marched along Poplar Street in Downtown Macon. They demanded "medical freedom of choice" when it comes to employers and the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"We don't force treatments onto our patients. Why would we be forcing treatment onto ourselves?" said one protestor at the demonstration in August. 

"We already are short-staffed. We were short-staffed before COVID. There was a strain on healthcare before that this made it even worse," said travel nurse Melissa Wilkins .

Is the mandate effective so far? 

It's clear some employees are pushing back against the vaccine mandate.

However, when you compare data from July, when the requirement was announced to now, it shows more and more personnel are deciding to roll up their sleeve.

During that period, there's a 7 percent increase in personnel who are fully vaccinated.

There's also a 22 percent decrease in the amount of people that are not vaccinated at all.

Simply put, that means more Atrium Health employees are getting their shots.

We reached out to Atrium Health Navicent for comment on the latest numbers. Atrium's spokesperson told us they would release a statement Wednesday. 

How does Atrium's vaccination rate compare to other Central Georgia hospitals? 

The vaccination rate for Atrium Navicent's staff are based on numbers reported by the hospital to the federal government and reported on the HealthData.gov site. 

Most Georgia hospitals report those numbers to the feds weekly but not all of them, and they show a big spread among Central Georgia hospitals.

For example, they show that Houston Medical Center (80.8 percent) and Perry Hospital (80 percent) have two of the highest rates of vaccination among their staffs. 

Also above average is Bleckley Memorial in Cochran which has 68.5 percent of their staff vaccinated. 

Central Georgia also has several hospitals with some of the state's lowest rates.

Monroe County Hospital (32.5), the Medical Center of Peach County (31.07), and Dodge County hospital (28.9).

All report less than one out of every three hospital workers are fully vaccinated.

Several area hospitals did not report their numbers, including Dublin's Fairview Park and Piedmont Health's two Macon hospitals.

Before You Leave, Check This Out