Detroit hospital system sued by about dozens of staff over COVID vaccine mandate

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.

Dismissing the lawsuit against the Houston Methodist Hospital in June, the judge noted that the federal government has said companies can require workers to get vaccines.

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, does not contain a July 21 CDC update on its website stating that reports of death “after COVID-19 vaccination are rare” — with only 6,207 such reports made from Dec. 14, 2020 to July 19, 2021, after 369 million doses being 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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