Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr says he's opposed to a new vaccine requirement for Medicare and Medicaid providers. 

In a statement released Friday, Burr praised the work of frontline medical workers. He says the new requirements could put an additional burden on already stressed-out health care staff if unvaccinated employees leave because of the mandate.

The Biden Administration announced the COVID-19 vaccine requirement last week. It applies to staff at health care facilities that take part in Medicare/Medicaid programs.

Officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say the move will ensure uniformity across the nation's health care systems and help prevent passage of the virus from unvaccinated staff to their patients.

Many of the major health care systems locally and across North Carolina had already mandated vaccines for their employees.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association issued a statement Friday in support of the Biden Administration's mandate. Organization officials say the data is clear that the COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in saving people from getting sick, becoming hospitalized, and dying from the virus.

The measure requires all eligible health care staff to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022, unless they have a medical or religious exemption.


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