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Jackson and Swain physicians pen open letter encouraging vaccination

SYLVA, NC – As physicians caring for our Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital communities, we are asking everyone who is eligible to please get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. It is important to do everything you can, now, to protect yourself, your family members, and friends.

North Carolina healthcare workers have administered more than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccinations are trending upward amid the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus. Yet, community spread of the virus continues to rage on, placing nearly 4,000 people this week in North Carolina hospitals, including Harris Regional Hospital where unvaccinated individuals make up 90 percent of COVID-19 admissions. Our physicians and staff are working tirelessly to care for patients suffering from COVID-19 and those who have other non-COVID related illnesses. Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. While there are some cases in which vaccinated people become infected with the virus, the illnesses are mild and seldom require hospitalization. Everyone 12 and older should be vaccinated. Vaccinations are free. If you have questions regarding the vaccine, our providers are happy to help answer them.

There are many convenient locations to get vaccinated. Visit If you need a COVID-19 test, see your healthcare provider. For more resources visit:

Our hospitals appreciate the outpouring of support demonstrated by our communities since the onset of the pandemic. The best way to help healthcare workers and our hospitals is to get vaccinated now so we can continue to provide care to the communities we are privileged to serve.



Nicholas Jernigan, MD, Harris/Swain Chief of Staff, Harris/Swain Board Member

David S. Thomas, MD, Harris/Swain Board Chair

Mark Engel, MD, Medical Director of Swain Community Hospital Emergency Department, Harris/Swain Board Member

Brad McAbee, MD, Medical Director of Harris Regional Hospital Emergency Department, Harris/Swain Board Member


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