Detroit hospital employees sue over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

They claim Henry Ford Health System's mandate for its workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 infringes on bodily autonomy

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Approximately 50 employees of the Henry Ford Health System are suing their employer, claiming the hospital system mandate for all workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 infringes on bodily autonomy. 

The plaintiffs in the suit are nurses, doctors and other staff members who claim the mandate is requiring them to choose between “exposing themselves to a novel and potentially harmful vaccine or abandoning their careers in healthcare,” according to Reuters. 

Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are delivered to a pop-up clinic in April at Western International High School in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

The lawsuit was filed in federal court, claiming that more than 30,000 people who have received the vaccine have died. The suit cited unverified reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

On the page, the CDC writes, “Reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental and unverified information,” and that “the number of reports alone cannot be interpreted or used to reach conclusions about the existence, severity, frequency or rates of problems associated with vaccines.” 

The CDC notes more than 6,200 people have died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, but healthcare providers forward that information to the agency even if it is unclear that the vaccine itself was the cause. 

The Henry Ford employees, which includes doctors, nurses and other staff, in the lawsuit have also filed for a temporary restraining order that would prevent the health care system from moving forward with the mandate until a decision is made. 

The health system instituted the mandatory mandate in June and gave employees until Sept. 10 to be vaccinated or face suspension. The lawsuit comes just days before Friday’s deadline. 

In a statement to Reuters, Henry Ford Health System officials said, “We remain confident that vaccination is the most powerful tool we all have against the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond that, we cannot comment on pending litigation.” 

Henry Ford Health System operates six hospitals in the Detroit area and more than 40 medical centers and specialized facilities.

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