A Texas hospital facility suspended workers who did not get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Houston Methodist Health Center informed its employees on April 1 that they would have to get vaccinated before June 7 or submit documentation for an exemption.
Exemptions would only be based on a medical condition, such as postponement of pregnancy, or sincere religious beliefs.
As of Tuesday, 24,947 workers chose to be fully vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, according to Marc Boom, director general of the health center.
But, according to an internal memo obtained by The Epoch Times, Boom told employees that 178 of them were either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all.
“The small percentage of employees who did not comply with the policy will now be suspended without pay for the next 14 days,” wrote the director, adding that they “decided not to put their patients first.”
According to him April 1 memo that was sent to all the hospital center employees, workers suspended as of June 7 would be fired if they were not fully vaccinated.
Another 285 hospital employees received a medical or religious exemption, while 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.
To the workers who got vaccinated, Boom told them he was proud of them.
“You have done the right thing. You have protected our patients, your colleagues, your families, and our community. Science shows that vaccines are not only safe, they are necessary if we are to turn the corner against COVID-19, ”wrote Boom.
For those who are saddened by “losing a colleague who decided not to get vaccinated,” he added that “we only wish them the best and we thank them for their past service to our community and we must respect the decision they have made.”
“Since I announced this mandate in April, the Houston Methodist has been challenged by the media and outgoing employees and even sued. As the first hospital system to impose COVID-19 vaccines, we were prepared for it. Criticism is sometimes the price we pay for leading medicine. To this day, other large health centers followed our example and announced their own obligations regarding vaccines and many more will do so soon, ”he said.
The health center came under heavy pressure for its mandate. Last month, more than 11 employees came together to file a lawsuit, arguing that the hospital was “forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition of continuing to work.”
The plaintiffs indicated that the three COVID-19 vaccines currently administered in the United States received authorization for emergency use, but none have been approved by the United States drug regulatory bodies.
The lawsuit asks the Montgomery County District Court to stop the health center from firing the plaintiffs if they refuse to be vaccinated and to declare the mandate invalid.
The hospital center responded that it is legal for health institutions to force vaccination and that it has been imposing flu vaccines since 2009.
A federal agency recently said that companies can require their employees to get vaccinated.
Earlier this week, one of the nurses who sued the Houston Methodist led a strike at the end of her shift.
Some supporters rallied to the group and cheered it on.
“We are all suspended right now,” said Jennifer Bridges, a nurse, a KTRK. “We are supposed to meet with a federal judge this week to decide to let us go back to work.”
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