Jun 8, 2021 - Health

Hospital suspends 178 staff for not complying with COVID vaccine mandate

The Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, Texas.

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

Houston Methodist Hospital on Tuesday suspended 178 employees without pay for 14 days for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Driving the news: The Texas hospital's CEO, Marc Boom, said in a message to staff shared with Axios that 24,947 workers had been vaccinated against the virus by Monday's deadline. 27 of those who didn't get fully vaccinated "have received one dose ... so I am hopeful they will get their second doses soon," Boom said.

  • 285 staff "received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons," per Boom's statement.

The big picture: The hospital is being sued by 117 employees who allege that its policy mandating that all staff must be vaccinated against the coronavirus is unlawful.

  • A group of medical workers rallied outside the hospital on Monday in protest against the policy, notes the Washington Post, which first reported news of the suspensions.
  • The federal government said last month that it is legal for companies to require workers to get vaccines.

What else he's saying: "I know that today may be difficult for some who are sad about losing a colleague who’s decided to not get vaccinated," Boom said.

  • "We only wish them well and thank them for their past service to our community, and we must respect the decision they made."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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