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The Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, Texas. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Houston Methodist Hospital is being sued by 117 employees who allege its policy requiring all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is unlawful, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: The lawsuit and similar legal challenges "could test whether employers can require employee vaccinations as the country navigates out of a pandemic that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans," WashPost notes.

  • The hospital has said it will fire workers who decline to get vaccinated before a June 7 deadline, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Of note: The federal government said Friday it is legal for companies to require workers to get coronavirus vaccines.

Details: The employees allege in the suit, filed Friday, that the hospital is "forcing its employees to be human 'guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment," per Bloomberg.

  • "It is a severe and blatant violation of the Nuremberg Code and the public policy of the state of Texas," the suit alleges, in reference to a code created to protect people from undergoing cruel treatment like that experienced by Nazi prisoners during World War II.

What they're saying: The Houston Methodist Hospital said in a statement to news outlets it is "legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, as we have done with the flu vaccine since 2009."

"The COVID-19 vaccines have proven through rigorous trials to be very safe and very effective and are not experimental. More than 165 million people in the U.S. alone have received vaccines against COVID-19, and this has resulted in the lowest numbers of infections in our country and in the Houston region in more than a year."

Go deeper

Police, firefighters sue Oregon governor over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Photo: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Police officers and firefighters are suing Gov. Kate Brown over Oregon's vaccine mandate for state workers.

The big picture: The Oregon Fraternal Order of Police along with troopers from around the state and firefighters are asking a judge to declare the Democratic governor's executive order “unenforceable," according to the complaint.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.