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Houston Methodist Hospital has suspended almost 200 of its workers who are resisting a mandate to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The hospital announced on Tuesday that 24,947 workers — more than 99% of its employees — were fully vaccinated against COVID, following the hospital’s pathbreaking policy to require vaccination for people who work there.
“I couldn’t be prouder of all of you as I know that, for some, this was a very difficult decision,” said hospital president and CEO Marc Boom, MD, in a written statement. “I want to personally thank you for choosing to get vaccinated. You did the right thing. You protected our patients, your colleagues, your families, and our community.”
The hospital said that as of this week, it had suspended 178 workers who had declined to comply with the requirement or who had not received an exemption or deferral.
“Of these employees, 27 have received one dose of vaccine, so I am hopeful they will get their second doses soon,” Boom said.
The hospital said 285 of its employees received a medical or religious exemption and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons.
The noncompliant full-time or part-time employees are suspended for 2 weeks without pay. They won’t lose their jobs if they get their second dose of a vaccine or get the Johnson & Johnson one-dose shot.
“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,” Boom said in the statement.
A group of 117 people who work at the Houston health system has filed a lawsuit against the medical center, objecting to its policy.
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