A recent note from Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) President and CEO Wright L. Lassiter III to HFHS patients, members, customers, and others about mandating the COVID-19 throughout the hospital system brought ire from some employees who decided to protest against the enforced jab on Saturday, July 17 near Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The protest drew hundreds of individuals who were seen with signs that said, “No jab = no job,” with others saying that they were heroes last year and now they are “villains,” according to the article.
Lassiter said in his letter that the start of the pandemic last year has confirmed what was already known.
“We are stronger together. As a community, we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in unique and countless ways. Although the positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to decline, we have lived this fight long enough to know that new variants continue to emerge, and surges can happen anytime, anywhere,” he said.
The hospital entity administered its first COVID-19 vaccination last December, and they have “consistently advocated for vaccination” as the optimal way to protect the hospital community and “prevent the spread of this devastating virus.”
He added that the data and science continue to “reinforce the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines,” including the mitigation of new and emerging threats like the Delta variant.
“To that end, we know more than ever that vaccination is the absolute best way to end this pandemic,” he said.
Not everyone agrees — many have protested the COVID-19 mandate like at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and three additional hospitals in the health system including Clinton Township, Wyandotte and Jackson, according to the article.
“We are not anti-vax. We are not unvaccinated out here. There are people who got the COVID vaccine. We are all out here because we do not believe the vaccine should be mandated,” said a protestor in the article, who was not a health care worker but a representative
HFHS was the first known hospital system in the state to enforce that all of its 33,000 employees, (and students, volunteers, and contractors) be get vaccinated by no later than September 10 — even remote-working employees are required, too.
Some medical and religious exemptions could be considered, but only for individuals who had severe allergic reactions to the first dose or to the ingredients in the vaccines, according to the article. The story added that 70 percent of employees have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As a healthcare leader and trusted voice in our communities, we know you depend on us to create a safe, healthy environment and we want to honor that promise to you,” Lassiter III said in the letter. “We acknowledge the magnitude of this decision and we did not make it lightly. We are not the first organization to do this, and we will not be the last. We have never been more committed, than we are today, to our mission to improve the lives of those we serve throughout our communities.”
Read the full story here.