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400 Henry Ford Hospital staff members quit over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 17:21:25-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Four hundred employees at Henry Ford have quit over the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, as they chose not to take the jab over their jobs.

This summer the Detroit hospital became the first Michigan-based healthcare provider to require its employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of continued employment.

Henry Ford Health System says more than 30,000 of their teams are fully vaccinated, 1,900 have approved exemptions, and 400 have resigned over the last couple of months, which is only 1% of their workforce.

Last month, President Joe Biden announced a mandate that would require health care workers at nearly every hospital across the country to get vaccinated or receive weekly COVID tests.

Henry Ford’s COO Robert Riney says the resignation is voluntary, meaning the doors will remain open for the former employees.

"Should they have a change of heart down the road and become vaccinated, they can once again apply for a job within Henry Ford," says Robert G. Riney President, Healthcare Operations & Chief Operating Officer, Henry Ford Health System

Meanwhile, about 250 requests for religious exemptions were denied at the hospital. Henry Ford’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah says nearly all the exemptions were granted based on various criteria including an individual’s medical history.

"We granted exemptions, also people who are long haulers and we are trying to understand those who are still having symptoms, whether these symptoms are related to our body’s immune reaction to the virus, and there are also people who have certain allergies or severe diseases these were some of the categories to exemptions," says Adnan Munkarah, M.D., Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer, Henry Ford Health System.

Meanwhile, Robert Riney says the new hire process is already off-setting the folks who declined to be vaccinated and resigned. There will be a nurse hiring fair on Oct 7th and 12th at various Henry Ford hospitals across Metro Detroit.