More than 170 Houston Methodist employees were suspended without pay for the next 14 days after not complying with the hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Houston Methodist said Tuesday that 178 full-time or part-time employees who did not get fully vaccinated or were not granted an exemption or deferral were ultimately suspended for 14 days without pay.
“The small percentage of employees who did not comply with the policy are now suspended without pay for the next 14 days. We won’t have the final numbers for two weeks as employees can still get vaccinated with their second dose or with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Houston Methodist PR Manager Gale Smith said.
Houston Methodist added that of those 178 employees, 27 have received one dose of the vaccine. Out of all employees, 285 employees received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.
In total, 24,947 of its employees are fully vaccinated, making Houston Methodist the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal, according to the hospital.
On March 31, Houston Methodist Hospital’s President and CEO, Dr. Marc Boom, announced mandatory vaccinations for all employees. Boom gave all employees until June 7 at 12 a.m. to become fully vaccinated.
On Monday, several employees protested the vaccination job requirement on June 7 by staging a walkout at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Baytown.
Also, 117 employees filed a lawsuit against Houston Methodist over its mandate for “requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine as a condition of employment,” according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Jared R. Woodfill on May 28.
The lawsuit states that for the first time in U.S. history, an employer is forcing its employees to be vaccinated “with an experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection” or be fired.
“Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human “guinea pigs” as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit states.
It’s not clear if the 117 people who filed the lawsuit through Woodfill are a part of the 178 employees who refused to get vaccinated.