Unvaccinated Hospital Workers Given The Boot After Refusing Vaccine

Texas hospital workers who refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of company policy are now facing dismissal after a deadline expired this week and some workers gather in protest.
Dozens of people carrying signs and waving American flags gathered outside the Houston Methodist Hospital on Monday, some in support of workers and others who joined after their last hospital shift.
"I cried all the way out," said nurse Jennifer Bridges, one of 117 healthcare workers who recently filed a lawsuit against the hospital over its vaccine needs, told local broadcaster KHOU.
The medical center's 26,000 employees were given until Monday to get the vaccine. Anyone who did not do this was suspended without pay for two weeks from Tuesday. These workers now have until June 21 to be vaccinated or they will be fired, the hospital told its staff in a policy statement back in April.
Employees can apply to be exempted from vaccination for medical reasons, including pregnancy, and "sincere religious beliefs," the hospital said. Any approved exception applies only to the year in which it was approved.
By the end of May, 99% of hospital staff had complied with the vaccination requirement, the hospital's president and CEO Marc Boom said in a statement to HuffPost last month.
The hospital shared its disappointment on Monday with those who refused to honor the mandate but said they represent a small number.
"It is unfortunate that today's milestone in making the Houston Methodist the safest hospital system in the country is being overshadowed by some disgruntled staff," Boom said in a statement to KHOU.
A nurse fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in San Antonio, Texas. Dozens of people gathered outside the Houston Methodist Hospital Monday to protest a mandatory vaccination policy for workers. (Photo: Sergio Flores via Getty Images)
The hospital has argued that health facilities are legally allowed to require vaccinations among their employees. It also insisted that the vaccines currently available in the US have been shown to be safe.
Skeptical workers hit back in a lawsuit against the hospital late last month, accusing the hospital of forcing them to become "human 'guinea pigs" as a condition of continued employment. "
The lawsuit appeared largely to be questioned as the vaccines were approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It has been erroneously claimed that this means that the vaccines are experimental and therefore potentially unsafe.
Vaccines that have received emergency approval have completed clinical studies demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Since they have undergone such clinical research and approval, they are not considered experimental.
Pfizer began filing for full FDA approval for its coronavirus vaccine last month.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace, issued updated guidance late last month defending employers' legal right to apply COVID-19 vaccines to workers in a physical workplace desire.
This requirement is legally permissible as long as the employer takes reasonable precautions. Those who do not get vaccinated because of a disability or religious belief, practice, or observation may be eligible for an exemption from vaccination at work in exchange for wearing a mask, social distancing, changing schedules, or reassignment, that is it on the EEOC website.
Over 100 Texas hospital workers are suing employers over vaccination mandates
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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