At least 153 employees of Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, have been dismissed from their jobs for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a spokeswoman for the hospital company that runs the facility.
“Employees who missed the deadline given to them by Tuesday (to get vaccinated) have been terminated as of today,” said spokeswoman Gale Smith in a statement.
She added that the workers who complied with this requirement returned to their jobs the day after they received the vaccine.
The company that runs the hospital required in April that its employees across Texas receive the vaccines and warned that those who did not present vaccination certificates by June 7 would be suspended without pay for two weeks.
Also in April, the hospital fired two managers who refused to receive the vaccine and on June 7 suspended at least 178 employees.
In May, a nurse at the hospital, Jennifer Bridges, and 116 other suspended employees sued the facility in federal court alleging that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccines were still experimental.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs argued that the mandatory vaccination order violates the Nuremberg Code, a set of ethical standards created after World War II to prohibit human experiments conducted by the Nazis.
On June 12, in a five-page ruling, federal Judge Lynn Hughes rejected the argument that the vaccines are unsafe, noting that Methodist Hospital “is trying to do its job of saving lives without passing the covid-19 virus to them.”
Texas law, the judge added, only protects workers against wrongful termination if they are fired for refusing to commit an illegal act.
Plaintiff Bridges, Hughes said, “does not specify what illegal act she refused to perform, but in her complaint she indicated that she refuses to be a human ‘guinea pig. Receiving the Covid-19 vaccine is not an illegal act.”
Houston Methodist Hospital President Marc Boom indicated that nearly 25,000 of its 26,000 employees have received the full coronavirus vaccination.
A survey conducted in March by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a public health information organization, found that many health care workers had concerns about COVID-19 vaccines and their potential side effects.
Other hospitals across the country, many in D.C., Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York, have forced the COVID vaccine on their employees and have also encountered resistance among their staff.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 150.4 million people in the United States have received the covid-19 vaccines, but the pace of inoculations has slowed dramatically in the last month.