Houston Methodist suspends 178 staff for not getting vaccinated

Houston Methodist suspended 178 staff for failing to get absolutely vaccinated by the deadline set by the well being system, the CEO mentioned Tuesday.

In a letter to all workers and physicians, CEO Marc Growth mentioned the 178 staff can be suspended with out pay for 2 weeks, giving them one other probability to both get the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In April, Growth informed workers that COVID-19 vaccines could be necessary, and those that didn’t comply would face termination.

“The small proportion of workers who didn’t adjust to the coverage at the moment are suspended with out pay for the subsequent 14 days,” Growth mentioned. “I want the quantity may very well be zero, however sadly, a small variety of people have determined to not put their sufferers first.”

As of Tuesday, 24,947 Houston Methodist workers — practically 100% — had been absolutely vaccinated, Growth mentioned. Of the 178 suspended, 27 had obtained one dose of the vaccine. One other 285 obtained a medical or non secular exemption, and 332 have been granted deferrals for being pregnant and different causes, Growth informed workers. A few of the affected workers protested the system’s mandate Monday, the deadline set for staff to have turn into absolutely vaccinated, the New York Instances reported.

“Whereas we have fun this exceptional accomplishment, I do know that at this time could also be troublesome for some who’re unhappy about shedding a colleague who’s determined to not get vaccinated. We solely want them nicely and thank them for his or her previous service to our neighborhood, and we should respect the choice they made,” Growth mentioned. “Since I introduced this mandate in April, Houston Methodist has been challenged by the media, some outspoken workers and even sued. As the primary hospital system to mandate COVID-19 vaccines we have been ready for this. The criticism is typically the value we pay for main medication.”

The well being system was sued in late Could by 117 workers over the vaccine mandate. Within the criticism, workers alleged that “Methodist Hospital is forcing its workers to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a situation for continued employment” and is violating the Nuremberg Code, which prohibits human experimentation with out consent. At the moment, Growth mentioned 99% of the hospital’s 26,000 workers already had been vaccinated.

The criticism which was filed within the District Court docket of Montgomery County in Texas, alleged that employers cannot mandate vaccines that have not but obtained FDA approval, calling the vaccines “experimental.” The COVID-19 vaccines solely have obtained emergency use authorization.

On Could 28, the federal Equal Employment Alternative Fee up to date its COVID-19 steering to make clear that an employer can require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter a bodily office, so long as lodging are made for individuals who cannot get vaccinated for medical or non secular causes.

Houston Methodist is considered one of a small variety of healthcare suppliers which can be mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for staff. In mid-Could, the College of Pennsylvania Well being System introduced that each one workers and medical workers could be required to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 by Sept. 1. Beginning July 1, Penn Drugs additionally would require all new hires to be vaccinated earlier than beginning work.

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