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HOUSTON, TX – According to reports, a hospital system based in Houston, Texas has placed 178 workers on suspension for two weeks without pay on Tuesday for refusing to comply with a company COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
In an internal email obtained first by the Washington Post on Tuesday, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom announced that approximately 25,000 workers had been fully inoculated against COVID-19 by the Jun 7 deadline that the heath care system had established, aside from a few stragglers who had only received their first shot but still needed to follow-up with a second.
However, Boom added, some employees had outright refused to receive the vaccine and were being placed on suspension as punishment.
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“I know that today may be difficult for some who are sad about losing a colleague who’s decided to not get vaccinated,” he said. “We only wish them well and thank them for their past service to our community, and we must respect the decision they made.”
In addition to the 178 employees who were suspended, an additional 285 were excused from being inoculated due to medical or religious reasons, and 332 were given deferrals due to pregnancy or other medical reasons, according to Boom.
In May, 117 employees of Houston Methodist Hospital sued Houston Methodist for the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, with Houston Methodist nurse Jennifer Bridges – who was among those suspended Tuesday – claiming that being compelled to receive it would be a violation of their civil rights.
“No one should be forced to put something into their body if they’re not comfortable with it,” she said, noting that the vaccine has not yet been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. “I’m not anti-vaccine. I’ve had every vaccine known to man, except this one. As nurses and medical staff, everybody feels like you should have a right to choose what you put in your body.”