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Northern Michigan hospital network sets deadline for staff COVID-19 vaccinations

Munson Healthcare
Munson Healthcare says its employees need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 7, 2022.

A hospital system in Northern Michigan has set a deadline for its staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs.

Munson Healthcare said Wednesday that its employees need to be vaccinated by Jan. 7, 2022, but that deadline might come sooner if the federal government requires it. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden said almost all hospitals in the country will need to require vaccinations, but his administration has not yet set a timeline.

Munson said it will establish a special committee to judge vaccine exemption requests.

In a written statement, spokesperson Dianne Michalek said the hospital system’s review process will be similar to what it uses for the flu vaccine each year. She said requiring the COVID-19 vaccine will shorten the pandemic and save lives.

Employees at Munson are represented by the Michigan Nurses Association. Carolyn Moss, president of the union’s local chapter, said it “immediately” sent a request to the hospital system to open negotiations on the vaccine requirement. Moss did not say the union is opposed to the vaccine, but that any mandate needs to be subject to collective bargaining.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.