Houston Hospital suspends staffers who refused vaccination | Daily News

Houston Hospital suspends staffers who refused vaccination

A Houston hospital has suspended 178 staff members who have refused to abide by its mandate that employees be fully vaccinated by Monday.

Nearly 25,000 of Houston Methodist's staff members have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 as part of a vaccination requirement announced in April, Houston Methodist's President, Dr. Marc Boom, said in a statement Tuesday.

But 178 unvaccinated employees who did not get religious or medical exemptions were suspended without pay, including 27 who are only partly vaccinated.

"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," Boom's statement said. "I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first." There are 285 unvaccinated employees who received medical or religious exemptions and 332 more who were granted deferrals. Boom said that he understood that it was a "very difficult decision" for some employees to be vaccinated but that they did the right thing to protect "our patients, your colleagues, your families and our community."

"The science proves that the vaccines are not only safe, but necessary if we are going to turn the corner against COVID-19," Boom said. "The mRNA technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines isn't new or experimental. It's been around for many years." Amanda Rivera, an emergency room nurse, told NBC affiliate KPRC that she is one of the suspended employees and faces termination if she refuses to comply."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," Rivera said. A lawsuit filed against the hospital at the end of May by 117 employees argued that Covid-19 vaccines were "experimental" and that Houston Methodist could not force an employee "to accept an FDA unapproved vaccine on penalty of termination or other sanctions." "None of the currently available experimental vaccines for COVID-19 has received final approval from the FDA," the lawsuit says. (NBC)

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