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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.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Health

White House acknowledges U.S. will miss July 4 vaccination goal

Fireworks in New York City to celebrate the state reaching a 70% vaccination rate. Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Biden administration acknowledged on Tuesday that it will likely miss its goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4.

Why it matters: Despite falling short of the goal, the White House still believes most Americans will be safe to fully celebrate Independence Day, as COVID-19 cases and deaths remain at low levels throughout much of the country.

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."

Biden endorses bill to end sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration endorsed a bill Tuesday that would end sentencing disparities for crack versus powder cocaine offenses.

The big picture: Supporting the legislation follows through on one of Biden's campaign promises. But it's a shift from decades ago, when Biden spearheaded efforts to pass the legislation that implemented the disparities in the first place.