Houston hospital workers fired, resign over COVID-19 vaccine
DALLAS (AP) — More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital system who refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine have been fired or resigned after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.
A spokesperson for Houston Methodist Hospital system said 153 employees either resigned in the two-week suspension period or were terminated on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, a federal judge threw out the lawsuit filed by 117 employees over the requirement.
The case over how far health care institutions can go to protect patients and others against the coronavirus has been closely watched. It's is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. But it won’t be the end of the debate.
In the June 12 ruling, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston deemed lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges’ contention that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant. He also found that her likening the vaccination requirement to the Nazis’ forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives during the Holocaust to be “reprehensible.”
The judge said that if employees of the hospital system didn't like the requirement, they could go work elsewhere.
The hospital workers who filed the lawsuit have already appealed the judge's dismal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The hospital system had required employees to complete their immunization by June 7. After that, 178 employees were suspended for two weeks without pay for not complying.