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VA to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees at medical centers, including 5 in Michigan

VA hospital ann arbor
Caroline Llanes
Michigan Radio

The Veterans Administration is joining other health systems in Michigan that are requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are five VA medical centers in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Detroit, Iron Mountain, and Saginaw.

Other health systems in Michigan that are mandating the COVID vaccine are Trinity Health, OFS HealthCare, and Henry Ford Health System.

The VA's vaccine mandate applies to Title 38 employees, which include physicians, physicians assistants, registered nurses, dentists, and other medical professionals. According to the VA's COVID-19 National Summary, 7103 VA employees in Michigan are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Pino Colone is an emergency medical physician at Henry Ford Health, and the president of the Michigan State Medical Society. He says he's pleased to see so many people vaccinated.

"From a health care perspective, I think it only makes sense that we as health care professionals set an example and lead the way, not only because it's the right thing to do and the vaccines are safe, but we are the ones that are going to be taking care of the patients that come in... and we don't want to inadvertently participate in the spread of COVID-19," Colone said.

Colone says this wouldn't be the first time that a healthcare system has mandated a vaccine for its employees. He says Henry Ford mandates the influenza vaccine every year. 

The Michigan State Medical Society is not the only organization to endorse employer-mandated vaccines for healthcare employees. 58 medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Acadmey of Pediatrics, recently signed onto a joint statement calling on health care and long term care employers to require the vaccine.

"As the health care community leads the way in requiring vaccines for our employees, we hope all other employers across the country will follow our lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination," the statement says.

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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