98% of Henry Ford employees meet system's vaccine mandate deadline, some face suspension

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Nearly all Henry Ford Health System employees met the Detroit-based system's Sept. 10 COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline, and others will be suspended for three weeks to give them more time to comply, according to Bob Riney, president of healthcare operations and COO.

Henry Ford, which employs more than 33,000 people, announced June 29 it would require workers be vaccinated as a condition of employment. Under the requirement, employees who were fully vaccinated, received their first of a two-dose vaccine or received an approved medical or religious exemption by midnight, Sept. 10, were considered compliant. Those who were not in compliance are now suspended and have until Oct. 1 to comply. An employee can return to work once they receive their first dose.

As of Sept. 13, nearly all Henry Ford employees, 98 percent, are compliant with the mandate, Mr. Riney said during a media briefing. He did not specify how many employees will be suspended for noncompliance but emphasized that the system will continue working with employees on vaccination.

"We have pledged to work with every team member who has not yet been vaccinated but demonstrates their commitment to do so," said Henry Ford in a statement. "We've said from the start — our hope is to keep every member of our Henry Ford family. Over the next three weeks, we will work in good faith with anyone who has a change of heart and decides to get the vaccine."

Mr. Riney said employees who remain unvaccinated on Oct. 1 will voluntarily resign but will have the option to re-apply for employment at Henry Ford if they become vaccinated.  

The latest workforce vaccination update from Henry Ford comes as new daily COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Michigan have jumped 15 percent over the last two weeks. Henry Ford reported 129 confirmed COVID-19 patients in its hospitals as of Sept. 13. 

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