Houston hospital advised its employees to complete their immunizations by June 7. For failing to comply, 153 employees resigned or were fired.
On June 20, the hospital accepted the resignation or terminated 153 employees after they refused to obtain vaccines, spokeswoman Gale Smith said to the Washington Post. The move came after a federal district court dismissed a lawsuit filed by one of the employees who claimed the policy was illegal.
Jennifer Bridges, a former nurse and one of the 178 employees, filed a lawsuit challenging the hospital's vaccination policy. She claimed that the order compelled employees to receive a vaccine that was still being tested and had not gone through the FDA's complete approval procedure and that it was therefore illegal.
On June 12, the U.S. District Court dismissed the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled out that "Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties." It asserted that the hospital policy protects their workers, patients, and families under methodist's care. Further, Hughes passed a statement that "This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus."
In addition, the court said the employee "Who refuses an assignment, changed office, earlier start time, or other directive, he may be properly fired. Every employment includes limits on the worker's behavior in exchange for his remuneration."
Houston Methodist's president and CEO, Marc Boom, told the Associated Press around 25,000 employees were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Boom told the employees in a statement that "the science proves that the vaccines are not only safe but necessary if we are going to turn the corner against COVID-19."
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.