Houston, TX

Houston hospital suspends 178 employees for refusing vaccine: “Taken to the door for not serving as guinea pigs"

Amy Christie

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A Houston hospital has reportedly suspended without pay at least 178 employees who did not wish to have the COVID-19 vaccine, as reported by NBC News.

How did it all happen?

Houston Methodist Hospital has suspended its employees for being in breach of its vaccination policy. The hospital required all employees to be fully vaccinated by Monday against COVID-19.

In April the hospital announced that all employees will have to get their vaccines until June 7 if they wished to continue working for the care facility, as The Blaze points out. Almost 25,000 of the hospital’s staff have been fully immunized.

285 employees reportedly received a medical or religious exemption and 332 more were granted deferrals due to pregnancies and other conditions.

However, at least 178 employees have reportedly not had the vaccine or not both immunization shots.

“We won't have the final numbers for two weeks as employees can still get vaccinated with their second dose or with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Dr. Marc Boom, Houston Methodist president, stated on Tuesday for NBC News.

“The science proves that the vaccines are not only safe, but necessary if we are going to turn the corner against COVID-19. The technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines isn't new or experimental. It's been around for many years,” he added.

Suspended employees have June 21 as the deadline to satisfy the hospital’s requirements about vaccinations. If that doesn’t happen the facility will initiate “the employee termination process.”

What were the reactions?

“I feel like they kind of bullied us into this little corner, like you have to do it, or you don't have a job. This is my only source of income,” Amanda Rivera, an ER nurse, shared with the news outlet. She is disappointed that the hospital put her in this position.

At least 117 employees filed a suit against the hospital in May based on the argument that the vaccines are “experimental.”

“Essentially, Dr. Boom is requiring my clients to serve as human guinea pigs, and if they're not, they're taken to the door. There's no choice. It's all about coercion, all about pressure. ... It's clearly about the bottom line, but not about the people who put their lives on the line. This is how they're repaid, with a pink slip,” attorney Jared Woodfill, who filed the suit in Montgomery County, said.

The New York Times also reported that dozens of hospital workers came out to protest on Monday night against the policy.

“If we don't stop this now and do some kind of change, everybody's just going to topple. It's going to create a domino effect. Everybody across the nation is going to be forced to get things into their body that they don't want and it's not right,” nurse Jennifer Bridge, who led the protest, stated.

On Monday Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that prohibits businesses and state government entities from requiring vaccine passports.

It’s not clear if the new law could impact Houston Methodist Hospital's guidelines.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

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