KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — With the delta variant continuing to drive COVID-19 cases in Michigan, administrators at Bronson Healthcare have decided put their foot down and join the list of hospital systems requiring workers to get vaccinated against the virus.
“For us, it was: How do we respond?” President and CEO Bill Manns said. “How do we keep our employees safe? How do we keep our patients safe?”
The answer was the vaccine requirement, which was made public Wednesday.
Manns said the unanimous decision stemmed from the hospital’s System Medical Executive Committee and Infection Prevention department. Bronson noted that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for those 16 and older, “reaffirming that mRNA vaccine is highly safe and effective.”
The vaccine requirement and its Dec. 1 deadline will apply to all of Bronson’s 8,400 employees, plus all medical staff providers, contracted personnel, students, volunteers, vendors and others who come to a facility and interact with staff or patients.
Over 76% of Bronson employees are already fully vaccinated. Manns said that number is good but not good enough.
“We’re using this as an opportunity to educate all of our employees before we say this is a minimum work requirement and this is one thing that you must do to be an employee here at Bronson,” he said.
According to administrators, more than 90% of all of Bronson’s COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. To Manns, it is beyond cause for concern.
“It’s really important that … we, as employees, are not a part of that in-patient process,” Manns said. “It’s really important that we do the right thing.”
Other local medical groups, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Trinity Health, which owns Mercy Health, and Ascension, which runs Borgess, have similar vaccine requirements.