LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — Chelsea Hoyle, an ER nurse for Atrium Health, has been in healthcare since she graduated high school.

She now lives in Lincoln County with her husband and two children.


What You Need To Know

Atrium Health's new policy includes employee mandated vaccines against COVID-19

Employees have until October 31 to be fully vaccinated

A protest was held Sunday, August 1 in Charlotte's Freedom Park

Atrium ER nurse Chelsey Hoyle says she is not anti-vaccine but wants the freedom to make her own choice


Hoyle has worked in Atrium's Lincoln County ER for almost seven years, and it's a career she chose because she says she loves serving her community and helping people.

"My heart was just in the ER, just being there to help people in the moment of things." Hoyle said.

Two weeks ago, Hoyle received an email from Atrium with a new policy announcement mandating all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 31 of this year.

Hoyle says it was disheartening to find out her employer was mandating vaccines, something she says should be left up to each individual.

“And I think I speak for many of us in the health care field when I say it is about our freedom and our right, rather than the vaccine," Hoyle said.

Sunday, August 1, hundreds of health care workers protested in Charlotte's Freedom Park, opposing the mandate made by Atrium Health.

"If our patients get to choose, then we should also be allowed to choose," Hoyle said.

Hoyle's family has made the decision to not vaccinate, and she says her future at Atrium is unsure.

"It's disheartening to see what kind of world we are living in right now," Hoyle said.

Atrium Health released the following statement regarding the change in policy:

"Atrium Health has a long history of protecting the health of our patients, our teammates and the communities we serve. With the new and more contagious variants now causing hospitalizations to rise across our region, we are requiring teammates to be vaccinated against the virus – to avoid catching or spreading it to others in our hospitals or other clinical environments.

"Most doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are drawn to their profession because they want to help and care for other people – specifically to help them get and stay well and live longer, healthier lives. The new COVID-19 vaccine requirement is designed to do exactly that, since the science shows that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and continue to save countless lives.

"We greatly value all of our teammates who have shown such dedication to our patients, their loved ones and to each other during the pandemic, and we respect the rights of those who have chosen to have their voices heard in a peaceful and civil manner. Open communication is something we embrace at Atrium Health. We encourage our teammates to share any concerns they may have directly with their leaders if they have questions about our vaccination requirement."