Texas Hospital Suspends More Than 170 Workers over Vaccine Refusal

A healthcare worker holds coronavirus vaccines at a vaccination center in El Paso, Texas, May 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

Houston Methodist Hospital reportedly suspended more than 170 of its health care workers for two weeks without pay this week after they chose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the hospital’s Monday deadline.

The hospital requires its employees to be vaccinated and will fire the suspended employees who do not receive the vaccine in two weeks, according to Fox 4 Dallas.

The hospital’s president and CEO Marc Boom said that 99 percent of its more than 25,000 workers were vaccinated by the deadline. The hospital also gave exemptions to 285 employees for religious and medical reasons. Another 332 received deferrals, including for pregnancy, according to the Washington Post

“It is unfortunate that today’s milestone of Houston Methodist becoming the safest hospital system in the country is being overshadowed by a few disgruntled employees,” Boom said in a statement.  

He announced the suspensions in an internal memo on Tuesday.

“I know that today may be difficult for some who are sad about losing a colleague who’s decided to not get vaccinated,” Boom wrote in the memo, obtained by the Washington Post. “We only wish them well and thank them for their past service to our community, and we must respect the decision they made.”

After being notified of their suspensions, dozens of workers protested outside of the hospital. 

“They can’t control us out here,” nurse Jennifer Bridges told the Houston Press. “I’m tired of being controlled and I’m tired of people trying to tell me what to 

While at least 177 employees filed a lawsuit against the hospital last month arguing that the hospital can’t force employees to receive an “experimental vaccine,” Boom said Texas law allows hospitals to mandate vaccines for employees, as they have with the flu vaccine for the past decade.

Boom added that the COVID-19 vaccines “have proven through rigorous trials to be very safe and very effective and are not experimental.”

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