Sep 8, 2021 - Health

Detroit hospital system sued over COVID vaccine mandate

 A police car leaves Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 2020.

Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

About 50 Detroit health care workers have filed a lawsuit against a hospital system, claiming its upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of "personal autonomy and bodily integrity."

Why it matters: This is the second major legal test concerning vaccine mandates in the health care sector, after an unsuccessful lawsuit claiming a Texas hospital's policy requiring all staff be vaccinated against the virus was unlawful.

Driving the news: The suit filed against Henry Ford Health System cites unverified reports from the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System(VAERS) — claiming that in the U.S. over 13,000 vaccinated people have died from the virus and more than 30,000 others have been left with permanent disabilities and life-threatening events.

Of note: The suit, filed Monday, doesn't mention a July 21 CDC website update stating that reports of deaths "after COVID-19 vaccination are rare" — with only 6,207 such fatalities recorded from Dec. 14, 2020, to July 19, 2021, after 369 million doses administered.

  • "FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause," the CDC states.

What they're saying: A Henry Ford Health System spokesperson said in an emailed statement Tuesday: "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."

What to watch: The hospital system's vaccine requirement is due to take effect Friday.

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