Fight over hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate ends with 153 workers out of a job

Enlarge / Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center campus in Houston, Texas. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

After staging weeks of protest and being called “reprehensible” by a federal judge, 153 workers of a Houston-based hospital system lost their jobs Tuesday for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Houston Methodist hospital system had placed 178 employees on a two-week, unpaid suspension on June 7 for failing to meet the hospital system’s vaccination mandate, which it had set on April 1. The unpaid two-week suspension was essentially the employees’ last chance to get vaccinated before facing termination.

During that time, some of the workers “became compliant with the policy,” a hospital spokesperson told the Houston Chronicle Tuesday. But 153 did not and either quit during their suspension or were fired on Tuesday. Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom had previously noted in a letter to employees that 27 of the 178 suspended workers had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine going into the suspension.

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