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WATAUGA — 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 on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The policy requires staff to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination by Oct. 31. Any medical and/or religious exemptions to the policy must have been submitted by Oct. 1. 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,” said David Triplett, Chairman of the AppHealthCare Board of Health. “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.”

AppHealthCare stated it is hopeful that with increased vaccination in the community, it will be able to better control the virus and not have it disrupt so many aspects of community life.

AppHealthCare stated it continues to urge people to get vaccinated and not wait.

The organization stated it understands people have questions around the vaccines, and they encourage community members to speak with trusted sources like their healthcare provider or call its COVID-19 Call Center at (828) 795-1970.

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