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Employees protest against Houston hospital’s policy that all staff must be vaccinated against Covid-19

A group of Houston Methodist Hospital workers protested on Monday the health care system’s requirement that staffers be vaccinated against Covid-19, according to CNN affiliate KTRK.

Employees had to get the Covid-19 vaccine by June 7, according to Houston Methodist.

More than 100 staffers at Houston Methodist filed a lawsuit on May 28 against the health care system over its vaccine policy, saying the vaccines are “unapproved” and “experimental.” The plaintiffs are asking for a temporary injunction against the policy.

Jennifer Bridges, one of the plaintiffs, told KTRK that employees who did not comply with the policy have been suspended. Houston Methodist said any employee that did not comply with the vaccine policy will be suspended for two weeks. If they are still not vaccinated after the two weeks, they will be terminated.

Houston Methodist became the first major health care system in the US to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations on March 31, starting with managers, according to an initial announcement from Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom.

On Tuesday, Boom issued a statement thanking those who have abided by the mandate. He said he also expected criticism for requiring the vaccine.

“As of today, we are nearly 100% compliant with our COVID-19 vaccine mandate with 24,947 of us being fully vaccinated. Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients,” Boom said in the statement.

“We had only 178 full-time or part-time employees who did not get fully vaccinated or were not granted an exemption or deferral,” Boom explained. “Of these employees, 27 have received one dose of vaccine, so I am hopeful they will get their second doses soon.”

“A little less than 200 individuals right now are suspended, and we hope they get their vaccine over the next two weeks, but if they don’t, they will be finding work elsewhere,” Boom told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.

“I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Boom said in his statement.

“While we celebrate this remarkable accomplishment, I know that today may be difficult for some who are sad about losing a colleague who’s decided to not get vaccinated. We only wish them well and thank them for their past service to our community, and we must respect the decision they made,” he added.

Boom said that he expected a measure of controversy to follow Houston Methodist’s decision to require vaccinations from their employees.

“Since I announced this mandate in April, Houston Methodist has been challenged by the media, some outspoken employees and even sued. As the first hospital system to mandate COVID-19 vaccines we were prepared for this,” he said. “The criticism is sometimes the price we pay for leading medicine.”

Boom characterized the unvaccinated employees as a small and vocal group, “whose messaging has been co-opted by an organized, anti-vaccination movement.”

The suspended employees who elected not to receive the vaccine are violating the tenets of the medical profession, he said.

“Every one of our professional tenets require us to put patients first, require us to keep our patients safe, by anything we can possibly do, so those individuals who are choosing not to get vaccinated are basically saying they are going against the tenets of our profession and they’re not putting patients first,” Boom said.

Employers can require employees to get vaccinated

According to the lawsuit filed in Montgomery County District Court, the group of health care professionals says “the currently available experimental vaccines” have not received full approval from the FDA and are “investigational products.”

The three Covid-19 vaccines in use in the US are authorized for emergency use, but they have not been granted formal approval by the FDA. Emergency use authorization is used when a product is new but the FDA has decided benefits outweigh the risks. Full approval requires more time and data.

The employees are represented by attorney Jared Woodfill, a former chairman of the Houston-area Republican party, according to his website. He previously sued to dismantle drive-through voting in Harris County last year and represented a group of Texas bar owners suing to reopen during the pandemic, according to a report from The Associated Press.

“Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human “guinea pigs” as a condition for continued employment. As CEO, Marc Boom in attempting to increase company profits by ‘leading the way’ and enticing potential patients to Defendant Methodist at the expense of other health care providers who do not force their employees to be human “guinea pigs” as a condition for employment,” Woodfill said in an email. “For Mr. Boom and Defendants, this is about profit, not people.”

In the hospital’s statement, Boom said that it legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, noting that the hospital has required employees to get the flu vaccine since 2009.

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven through rigorous trials to be very safe and very effective and are not experimental,” Boom said. “More than 165 million people in the U.S. alone have received vaccines against COVID-19, and this has resulted in the lowest numbers of infections in our country and in the Houston region in more than a year.”

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in December that companies can legally mandate that all employees re-entering the workplace and new hires be vaccinated for Covid-19. There are two exemptions companies must allow for, according to the EEOC: a disability or religious reasons.

Coronavirus

CNN Newsource

Comments

46 Comments

    1. Will take months- if not years ! In the meantime- all nurses go through proper N95 qualitative fit testing for their respirator masks- they’ve all been trained and schooled extensively on bloodborne pathogens- why exactly is anyone trying to force this experimental drug on the healthcare providers ! This is another clear violation of civil liberties and over-reach by a Biden Government on stoopid pills ! Put it this way- if this vaccine ends up killing someone- Hospital administrators will be on the hook for manslaughter charges ! Oregon is no different- companies are liable for any injury sustained as a result of this vaccine- Americans must fight this over-reach till the very end- Demokrats have backed the citizens into a corner.

      1. Approval processes are already kicked off, and it’s expected to take the FDA “several weeks” to make their decision.

        SCOTUS already ruled that governments can force their citizens to be vaccinated, so a private hospital? You bet they can force it.

        And if the hospital doesn’t require vaccinations and a patient dies because of it, the hospital will be on the hook for that. And apparently the hospital has decided to put its money where its mouth is: lowest risk is to require all employees to be vaccinated.

    2. Yep, all of a these “it’s not approved” arguments will disappear. Come on people, you’re working in a health care setting with medically fragile patients, there’s a disease that’s killed ~600K of your fellow Americans, and there are vaccines to prevent it for which there have already been 300+ million doses distributed. Find another job if you prefer to get medical advice from Trumpworld than from medical experts and real-world data.

      1. You talking about the real world data that lumps together “died with” and “died from”? Or the data that counts “presumptive” and positive test cases together? According to the OHA that’s real world data. I don’t buy it.

        1. Don’t forget “deaths related to”. According to the CDC only 6% of all Covid related deaths actually died of covid alone. 94% died of other causes but tested positive for covid. A vast majority of the so called covid deaths did not in fact die from covid, but with covid. Those are government bureaucrat CDC Statistics. Not just some random posting on Fakebook.

          1. At some point this becomes hairsplitting. “Did he die from being hit by a car, or from blunt-force trauma while being hit by a car?”

            We track how many Americans die each year. This last year, that number was hundreds of thousands higher than normal… for *some* reason!

            Now, you can argue that those extra hundreds of thousands didn’t die from COVID and they they died merely “with” it. But where the rubber hits the road, that distinction is irrelevant.

            1. That’s not “splitting hairs!” If someone gets killed in a car wreck and has diabetes we don’t list them as a death from diabetes. That is the dumbest argument I have read all week. They either died from Covid or not. Everyone else dying while having Covid should not get lumped in yet they are. The would be data malpractice in any other instance.

                1. So provide yer own ! Cmon loudmouth… dazzle us all with one of your… “blond walks into a bar” analogies !

            2. I think it’s pretty simple. One question needs to be answered, did COVID complications kill the person or not? Never before in history has cause of death from any ailment been so misleadingly tabulated and reported. Ever.

          2. No that’s nonsense, and repeating it again and again doesn’t make it true. When someone suffocates to death from COVID-caused pneumonia it’s COVID that killed them, not because of hypertension or obesity condition they happened to have and is identified in their CDC record. They’d still be walking around if it wasn’t for COVID. That’s like saying that a traffic accident victim’s death wasn’t caused by the carnage, but instead by the diabetes they happened to have at the time.

            1. So why did KTVZ stop posting that all these deaths no longer fit their initial misguided comments about death “by” covid- and for months now have stated clearly- death “related” to. As of late we’ve seen numerous California counties admit to bloating their death tolls by as much as 25%… for what purpose- honest mistake ? Hardly… the science don’t lie- humans manipulating the messaging for ding-dongs like you do !

        2. There’s Real World Data that the rest of the world agrees on, and then there’s Trump World Data that Trumplicans and other fringe loonies agree on.

        3. According to just about anyone in the know with half a brain cell in just about any country, COVID deaths are vastly underreported. But you go ahead and believe the Reddit gang you genius you.

      2. haha you are a 🐑🐑🐑🐑🐑, probably also came from the land of rainbows and unicorns didn’t you! so what bribe did you take to get the vaccine, was it the full week of free safe space and cuddle monsters?

        1. And you didn’t get the vaccine because of some 2-bit NYC real estate hustler who played a fake billionaire on TV and says he could even kill someone in broad daylight and “his people” would still follow him to the end; who exactly is the sheep?

          1. Oh My… Long day of gettin yer “hootch” on again ??? Here’s what the great leader you seem to reference has actually said: “March 17, 2021 — Former President Donald Trump urged people on Tuesday to get a COVID-19 vaccine, saying he recommends it to people who are still hesitant or who don’t want to get it.”…. “He also acknowledged that people should be free to decide for themselves but encouraged Americans to consider it.” !!! Grrrr- that Donald J Trump- Grrrrr !!!

    1. You need 2 months of safety data for the EUA and 6 months of safety data for the approval.

      When hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, it’s advantageous to play the odds rather than simply letting everyone die with COVID. And in this case, the vaccines went through tons of testing and got 2 months of good safety data, and the EUA was granted. It would have been unethical to withhold the vaccine at that point.

      1. STOOPID POST ALERT”… “it’s advantageous to play the odds” ??? So yer advocating “gambling” with your health over a scientifically defined mild virus- with a 98% survival rate ??? This is why I reject damn near everything you say- you are a complete idiot !

  1. Several thing worry me about these mandates to be vaccinated with a substance which, no matter what the CEO says, is still not FDA approved and is still only receiving an emergency use authorization. But a large concern I have is that they are not interested in Covid immunity but rather in Covid vaccination. A modest percentage of the population has immunity because of “recovery from Covid” which is generally recognized as being a better immunity than that provided by the vaccine, and yet most places doing these “mandates” make no attempt to give credit for “recovery immunity” but only for the vaccination. So no matter what the rhetoric, the objective must be “vaccination” rather than “immunity”.

    1. The FDA was the organization that granted the EUA. So saying “it’s not FDA approved” isn’t correct. The FDA says the vaccines are safe and effective.

      You can say it doesn’t have full approval, though.

      What I’m wondering is what the next excuse for not taking the vaccine will be once it does get full approval.

    2. “generally recognized”? Do you have a reference for this (honestly asking)? The reports I’ve seen in the news from the medical community said antibody numbers and immune response are better for the vaccinated than for the recovered, which is why the CDC recommends recovered people also get vaccinated. But if there’s credible (peer reviewed) data I’d be interested.

  2. It seems to be a matter of simple logic that healthcare workers should be vaccinated.
    One major factor that was not mentioned in the article is that Texas is an at-will State.
    The protestors do not have a leg to stand on.

    1. Other than the fact that they should not be forced into putting a foreign substance into their bodies in order to work at a business. My body my choice right? Or just when it fits your own guidelines.

      1. If you went to public school, chances are high that you’ve had a heck of a lot of ‘foreign substances’ injected into your body that have prevented you from catching a disease and dying and if you have eaten any fish, you’ve probably ingested quite a bit of Mercury. Next excuse?

        1. Such poppycock Martha— Ewwww… the sky is falling !!! Here- get yerself educated- “Quick Fact: Oregon’s vaccine laws allow for medical and non-medical vaccine exemptions, which in effect allow for medical, religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions. Oregon’s non-medical exemption law also mandates education and state and/or vaccine provider approval of parents exercising their human and informed consent right to exempt their child(ren) from one or more state required vaccines. Individuals utilizing Oregon’s non-medical exemption are not required to give a reason (religious or philosophical) for taking the exemption, i.e. declarative non-medical exemption statements are optional. For specific requirements see Oregon’s statute – ORS § 433.267.”…. Cmon people- what I do with my body is my business ! https://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/oregon.aspx

    1. It just infuriates you when you can’t tell people what to do doesn’t it ! Your ilk and Kate Brown are why the state’s economy is trashed- there is no end in sight to the virus- it will be back the second week of October- then whatchu gonna do… have another tantrum ??? You listened to Fauci when you should have questioned common sense- now a year later- the hoax is unraveling- with 25,000 active cases today- 2,000 back in June of 2020 when you all went hysterics over shutdowns-lockdowns-dumbdowns ! Now reap the fruits of your labor- rotten tomatoes !

  3. Last sentence in the article.

    “There are two exemptions companies must allow for, according to the EEOC: a disability or religious reasons.”

    There is the out for anyone

    1. BenderskierCancel:
      I mentioned previously that Texas is an “At Will” State, and, therefore, the protestors do not have a leg to stand on.
      “At Will” means that the employer can terminate your employment for any reason (“cause” is not a factor).
      But wait! There’s more! The employee can quit without coming up with an excuse.

  4. If you think the FDA is out for your best interests then you have been fooled. Consider this new approval of a drug that really does nothing for the patient even though it costs $56k per year. Biogen used the old trick of running multiple studies and only one of those studies showed that the drug did anything at all. In the one study, the only improvement was the slowing of the decline but the patients still declined. I have read enough medical drug studies to know that Biogen ‘cooked” the data to even show that minor benefit.

    From the below article. “The non-profit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, which studies drug value, said Biogen’s drug would have to halt dementia entirely to justify its $56,000 per-year price tag.”

    https://apnews.com/article/science-government-and-politics-business-health-2147d824af9cfde629041d83d9ca7a8d

    Meanwhile the FDA will go after those who are producing low cost ways of helping those with medical issues. I know this for a fact as I have been involved in some of those cases.

    The main purpose of the FDA is to increase big pharma profits and thereby their own income.

  5. I can’t reconcile the statement that the workers are being forced to be “guinea pigs” when, if they don’t get vaccinated, it is the patients who who be the “guinea pigs.”
    As the hospital spokesman said, that small percentage of employees who did not get vaccinated are not putting patient care first.
    Well, they need to find another job in that case. Remember “Do no harm”?

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