Hospital suspends 178 well being care employees for failing to get COVID vaccine

Enlarge / An American flag flies outdoors the Houston Methodist Hospital on the Texas Medical Middle (TMC) campus in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

As of Tuesday, 178 well being care employees employed by a Houston-based hospital system are on a two-week unpaid suspension after failing to satisfy the hospital system’s mandate to be absolutely vaccinated towards COVID-19 by Monday, June 7.

Houston Methodist CEO Marc Increase introduced the mandate in April, telling hospital staffers that in the event that they didn’t get vaccinated, they might be fired. The 178 suspended staff now have the 2 unpaid weeks to grow to be absolutely vaccinated earlier than termination. They will achieve this by getting the one-shot COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson or a second dose of the both of the 2 mRNA vaccines. Increase famous in a letter to staff despatched Tuesday that 27 of the 178 suspended staff have acquired one dose of vaccine.

The Texas hospital system stood out in issuing the vaccination mandate. Many employers have shied away from mandates, although extra employers have adopted Houston Methodist’s lead in current weeks. Total, the mandate seems profitable: about 97 p.c of the hospital’s practically 26,000 staff are absolutely vaccinated. Increase reported that 24,947 staffers have been absolutely vaccinated, whereas 285 acquired a medical or non secular exemption, and 332 have been granted deferrals for being pregnant and different causes.

“I wish to personally thanks for selecting to get vaccinated,” Increase wrote in a letter to workers, obtained by The Washington Put up. “You probably did the appropriate factor. You protected our sufferers, your colleagues, your households, and our group.”

Nonetheless, the small faction of vaccine holdouts is vocal—and feisty—about its objections to the mandate. Dozens of individuals, together with hospital staffers and supporters, gathered outdoors of Houston Methodist Baytown campus Monday night to protest the mandate as some unvaccinated staff accomplished what might be their remaining shifts on the facility. Individuals held indicators studying “Vaxx is Venom,” “Don’t Lose Sight of Our Rights,” and “No Pressured Vaccines.”


In Might, 117 Houston Methodist staff filed a lawsuit towards the hospital, claiming that the vaccine mandate violates the Nuremberg Code, amongst different issues. The Nuremberg Code is a set of 10 ideas for conducting human experimentation ethically, which have been written in response to atrocities carried out by Nazis throughout World Conflict II.

One of many main voices of the hospital’s vaccine holdouts is Jennifer Bridges, a nurse who has labored on the hospital for over six years and labored within the coronavirus unit in the course of the pandemic. She is among the nurses suing the hospital and was suspended Monday for failing to adjust to the vaccination mandate, in accordance with The Texan.

“I’m not anti-vaccine. I’ve had each vaccine identified to man, besides this one,” Bridges informed The Washington Put up in Might. “As nurses and medical workers, all people seems like it is best to have a proper to decide on what you place in your physique.”

Bridges and her like-minded colleagues are removed from the one group of well being care employees proof against COVID-19 vaccines, sadly. Practically half of frontline healthcare employees mentioned in a March survey they weren’t vaccinated, even if frontline well being employees have been among the many first to have entry to vaccines. Within the survey, many holdouts mentioned that they have been involved by the novelty of the vaccines and potential unwanted side effects.

Although many different healthcare amenities and employers have chosen incentives and different methods to encourage vaccination, Increase was unwavering in his choice to make use of a mandate. “The criticism is typically the worth we pay for main drugs,” he wrote. Addressing the unvaccinated staff particularly, he wrote that they “determined to not put their sufferers first” however that “we solely want them nicely and thank them for his or her previous service to our group, and we should respect the choice they made.”

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