Vaccine mandate sparks concerns at Owosso hospital

Memorial Healthcare in Owosso is concerned about the federal vaccine mandate.
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:59 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OWOSSO, Mich. (WILX) - Memorial Healthcare in Owosso is becoming stressed as the potential for losing staff becomes more of a concern everyday. Following the federal vaccine mandate set to begin in January, staff are voicing their concerns.

Read: Owosso hospital nearing capacity reintroduces COVID safety precautions

“The last thing we need is to lose more of our employees to a mandated vaccine that our employees -- at least some -- are willing to resign or leave over,” said Memorial Health Care president and CEO Brian Long.

Starting Jan. 4, the federal government is requiring employers with 100 or more employees to require its workers to be vaccinated against COVID or be tested weekly.

“The issue is not just even the mandate but its the inability to work in any other way to accommodate our employees.” says Long.

Related: COVID surge pushing Michigan hospitals past capacity

With coronavirus cases rising, combined with the vaccine mandate, Megan Smith, the associate vice president of quality and safety, is concerned they may lose employees.

“Our biggest concern is the staff that have religious beliefs or contradictions or beliefs that they don’t feel the vaccine is safe, that are at risk of losing their job if they don’t get the vaccine,” Smith said. “Which, we’re already in a situation where staffing needs are very critical, so the potential to lose additional staff is very concerning.”

In the meantime, the hospital is urging Michiganders to do their part in stopping the spread of COVID.

“We’re going to see these kinds of things actually get worse if we don’t take responsible actions on an individual level,” Long said. “We have to have individuals practicing good personal responsibility in their own lives.”

Read: Michigan’s current positive daily COVID cases surpass last November’s

Henry Ford Health System enacted its own vaccine mandate. According to officials, out of their 33,000 employees, they lost only 400 and that 92% of their employees are fully vaccinated.

Spectrum Health also has a vaccine mandate. They said 99.7% of their employees got vaccinated.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.