(WXYZ) — If you picked up a copy of the Detroit Free Press on Sunday, you may have noticed an entire page that said in bold letters, "The science is clear. Vaccines save lives."
The full-page open letter was signed by 56 health officials at Henry Ford Health System.
"Every single one of our department chairs in the medical group. Every one of our chief medical officers, our chief nursing officers, our elective chief of staff, our nursing leadership, our pharmacy leadership, have volunteered to sign on this letter,” said Henry Ford Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Adnan Munkarah. "All of us believe in it’s (vaccine) safety and efficacy.”
Dr. Munkarah was one of those 56 signatures that appeared on the letter, hoping to fight vaccine hesitancy.
“Do we think this is the final solution? We do not," Dr. Munkarah said. "But we hope that it is yet another piece of information that will help people who are sitting on the fence.”
The letter comes as cases rise across the country. Hospitalizations are up 90% in Michigan over the past two weeks, according to Henry Ford.
Meanwhile, just 64% of Michiganders over the age of 16 have had at least one shot.
“I'm by no means saying that taking the vaccine will eradicate the virus," Dr. Munkarah said. "But we will be in a much better situation than we are at the present time.”
Henry Ford is one of a number of hospitals now requiring the vaccine for all employees, and some places like The Film Lab in Hamtramck are now mandating the vaccine for customers.
“I feel like it's this tiny thing that business owners can do right now to make sure we wont have an entire economic shutdown again soon, which I'm afraid we’re rolling towards,” said Lara Sfire, owner of The Film Lab.
In the letter, the 56 Henry Ford medical experts say the science is clear, and that vaccines are effective at preventing the devastating effects of the illness. Evident by the number of un-vaccinated patients in the hospital.
“When you look at the percentage of people who are un-vaccinated and being hospitalized, compared to the vaccinated, it is eight or nine to one," Dr. Munkarah said. "The ratio is eight or nine to one. So if this does not prove to us the effectiveness of the vaccine, I don’t know what else will."
With that first hand experience, these 56 health professionals want their message heard. Hoping those who see the letter, take their plea to heart.
“This is not a political statement. This is not a statement against anti-vaxxers. This is a statement from people who have looked at the data, who have analyzed the information, have discussed it, have looked at what can vaccines do, and are convinced that vaccine is our solution forward,” Dr. Munkarah said.