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On April 1, the Houston Methodist hospital system told its employees that they were required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. More than two months later, 24,947 workers have been fully vaccinated, and 153 have either resigned or been terminated for not complying with the mandate.
In early June, 178 employees were suspended for not getting vaccinated, and given two weeks to rectify the situation. Houston Methodist spokeswoman Gale Smith told The Washington Post on Tuesday that 25 of those employees have since been vaccinated. “Patients are always first, and that’s what it’s always been,” Smith said.
Jennifer Bridges, a former nurse with Houston Methodist, sued over the mandate, claiming it was forcing employees to be “guinea pigs” for COVID-19 vaccines. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month, writing that “this is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer.” Bridges, who said she has since been hired by a private nurse-staffing company, has appealed.
Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom praised the ruling and the hospital system’s workers who “made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”