COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of changes in the rules and regulations of both governments and corporations. Although strict rules are quite necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, some services are taking it seriously. Houston Methodist Hospital is one among such services as a total of 178 employees have been suspended from the hospitals.
As per the statement issued by Houston Methodist on Tuesday, the reason behind the suspension of those employees is that they haven’t complied with the vaccine requirements. Both part-time and full-time employees are included in this list and none of them was granted an exemption from the authorities.
Houston Methodist included in the statement that the employees are suspended without pay for 14 days. 27 of those employees have already received the first dose of vaccine and they will soon get their second doses done. Well, 285 workers received a medical or religious exemption and 332 were granted a deferral for pregnancy and other health reasons.
CEO Marc Boom also stated that “178 workers are less than 1% of the total employees in the hospital”. He also sent an email to the staff saying that “Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients”.
Speaking about the patients’ Boom said that “I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first”. Besides, he claimed that 24,947 workers are vaccinated against the virus by the deadline set on Monday. The suspended ones were the ones who are still not vaccinated.
But, the 117 employees sued the hospital saying that the policy of the hospital is unlawful. A group of the suspended employees rallied outside the hospital protesting against the policy soon after the news of suspension spread. Answering the protest, the federal government posted that the policy is legal for companies to get their employees vaccinated.
Furthermore one of the suspended nurses led a walkout after completing the shift on Monday. Several other employees met her at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital to support her efforts. Jennifer Bridges said that she doesn’t want to take the vaccine because U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t provided full approval to it.
Several other health care centers have followed the lead of Houston Methodist and announced their vaccine policies for their employees.