The Henry Ford Health System, based in Detroit, Michigan, announced on Tuesday that around 400 employees have quit over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers.
Bridge Michigan reported that an additional 1,900 workers received exemptions from the vaccine requirement at the hospital. Bob Riney, chief operating officer for the five-hospital chain, tried to downplay the number of workers who quit over the mandate, saying that those leaving comprised about 1 percent of the workforce of 33,000 people.
“All things considered, we’re losing a very small segment of our workforce. I quite frankly wish that was zero, but it’s not,” Riney claimed to reporters. “But it’s a very small percentage, and our new-hire process is already offsetting the folks who declined to be vaccinated and resigned.”
Riney went on to say that around 6 percent of the remaining workforce of 33,000 employees were granted religious or medical exemptions that allowed them to continue working without getting the vaccine. Dr. Adnan Munkarah, Henry Ford’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer, said that nearly all of the exemptions granted were religious, with just a handful being granted for medical reasons.
Riney said in his Tuesday press conference that there are a few other employees whose vaccine-related issues remained unresolved as of this week.
“At this moment, we’re still working through some cases and talking to some remaining non-compliant employees about their intentions,” he said.
Over the summer, Henry Ford became the first health care system in Michigan to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The deadline for employees of Henry Ford to get the vaccine was last Friday.
Last month, President Joe Biden announced a sweeping mandate that would require health care workers at nearly every hospital and health system in the United States to either get vaccinated or receive weekly COVID tests. Before this announcement, the Detroit-area health care systems Detroit Medical Center and McLaren Health Care declined to impose vaccine mandates on employees. As of last Friday, only around 70 percent of DMC’s and McLaren’s staff were vaccinated.
“(W)e are working diligently every day to increase that rate and strongly encourage all of our employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19,” said DMC spokesperson Jason Barczy. “We don’t have any comment on the proposed (Biden) vaccine mandate.”
James Curtis, a spokesperson for McLaren, spoke out to say that it “intends to support and follow the recently announced federal vaccine policy guidelines and looks forward to receiving more information concerning these guidelines — including … mandatory weekly testing required for those exempted for religious and medical reasons.”
Americans everywhere should be free to make their own decisions about whether or not to get vaccinated without being forced to do so by their employers or by the government. Sadly, hundreds of dedicated healthcare workers at Henry Ford are now out of a job simply because they didn’t want to put a vaccine in their bodies.