Henry Ford Health System becomes first Michigan hospital to require COVID-19 vaccine for workers

All workers, volunteers, students, and contractors at Henry Ford Health System must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the hospital announced Tuesday.

This requirement goes into effect Sept. 10.

Henry Ford is the first hospital in Michigan to have a COVID vaccine requirement.

"We acknowledge the magnitude of this decision and we did not make it lightly," said President and CEO Wright Lassiter III. "As a leader and trusted voice in our communities, our patients and members depend on us to create a safe, healthy environment. We owe that same promise to our team members. Safety and infection prevention are everyone’s responsibility."

According to the health system, the COVID vaccine requirement is consistent with other vaccine policies. Workers must get a flu shot yearly and must be up-to-date on other vaccinations, including measles, mumps, rubella, and whooping cough.

Those with valid medical or religious reasons can be exempt from vaccination.

"We have consistently advocated for vaccination as the best path forward for all of us," said Bob Riney, President of Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer. "But for vaccinations to truly make a deep and lasting impact on this pandemic, we need everyone in this fight. There is no greater compassion we can show each other than to be vigilant about safety and preventing the spread of this devastating disease."

The hospital system is seeing the lowest number of COVID admissions since the start of the pandemic. Right now, about 20 people are being admitted to hospitals.

"At the end of the day, we want all of our team members to be safe and healthy – protected from this virus and protecting those around them," Lassiter said. "When it comes to this complex decision, we will do the best and safest thing we can to achieve that goal. We are not the first healthcare organization to do this, and we will not be the last."