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More than 150 Houston hospital workers resign or are fired for refusing to have Covid-19 vaccine

 More than 150 employees at a Houston hospital resigned or were fired Tuesday after they refused to follow a hospital policy requiring they get vaccinated against Covid-19.   

A spokesperson for the hospital, Houston Methodist Baytown, said that among 200 employees who were told they needed to be vaccinated by June 7 or face a two-week suspension, 153 either resigned or were terminated.

The departures came after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.  

Hospital workers protested outside of Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital on June 7 in response to a requirement that they be vaccinated against Covid-19. More than 150 workers resigned or were fired on Tuesday after refusing to get vaccinated

Hospital workers protested outside of Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital on June 7 in response to a requirement that they be vaccinated against Covid-19. More than 150 workers resigned or were fired on Tuesday after refusing to get vaccinated 

The case over how far health care institutions can go to protect patients and others against the coronavirus has been closely watched. It's is believed to be the first of its kind in the US But it won't be the end of the debate.

In the suit, filed by 117 Houston Methodist employees over the requirement, they likened their situation to medical experiments performed on unwilling victims in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.


In his June 12 US District Judge Lynn Hughes of Houston called the comparison 'reprehensible,' and deemed lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges' contention that the vaccines are 'experimental and dangerous' to be false and otherwise irrelevant. 

The judge said that if employees of the hospital system didn't like the requirement, they could go work elsewhere.  

Bridges, 39, vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Nurse Jennifer Bridges (second from left) led the protests, and was lead plaintiff in an employee lawsuit against the hospital vaccination policy

Nurse Jennifer Bridges (second from left) led the protests, and was lead plaintiff in an employee lawsuit against the hospital vaccination policy

Bridges in the suit likened Houston Methodist's vaccine policy to the Nazi's forced experiments during World War II. A district judge dismissed the suit on June 12

Bridges in the suit likened Houston Methodist's vaccine policy to the Nazi's forced experiments during World War II. A district judge dismissed the suit on June 12

'This is only the beginning,' she said. 'We are going to be fighting for quite a while.' 

Houston Methodist’s decision in April made it the first major US health care system to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers. 

Houston Methodist’s president and CEO, Marc Boom, has said nearly 25,000 of the system’s more than 26,000 workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

'You did the right thing. You protected our patients, your colleagues, your families and our community. The science proves that the vaccines are not only safe but necessary if we are going to turn the corner against COVID-19,' Boom said in a statement to employees.

Houston Methodist protesters waved at cars on June 7. The Houston Methodist Hospital System was among the first in the country to require its employees be vaccinated

Houston Methodist protesters waved at cars on June 7. The Houston Methodist Hospital System was among the first in the country to require its employees be vaccinated

Bridges, who had worked at the hospital for 6-and-a-half years, had contended that the vaccines were unsafe because they do not have full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, and led a walkout on June 7 with fellow employees. 

The vaccines currently have emergency authorization from the FDA.

'I don't think anyone should ever lose their job just because they do not want to get an injection that they are not comfortable with. They should have at least compromised with us and given us a chance since it is just emergency use authorization right now,' she told ABC 13

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