(CBS DETROIT) - Henry Ford Health System announced Tuesday it will require the COVID-19 vaccination for its employees.
The requirement will take effect on Sept. 10, 2021, and applies to all team members, students, volunteers and contractors.
Henry Ford has become the first health system in Michigan to require the COVID-19 vaccination, and the latest to join other U.S. health systems to do so.
"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."
The health system says the decision to require a COVID-19 vaccination is consistent with the existing vaccination policy at Henry Ford. Team members are required to get a flu shot every year and stay current with other vaccinations like measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.
Total COVID-19 admissions across all Henry Ford's hospitals are around 20, the lowest number since the early days of the pandemic, according to the health system. But emerging variants like Delta put those who are unvaccinated at extremely high risk for hospitalization and death, and leave hospitals vulnerable to potential future surges.
Henry Ford will offer listening sessions throughout the summer to help team members navigate the mandate process. Those with valid medical or religious reasons can be exempt from vaccination.
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