Nearly 200 employees of the Houston Methodist hospital system in Texas have been suspended without pay for refusing to get COVID-19 vaccines.
Nearly 25,000 workers met Monday’s deadline to be fully immunized, but 178 failed to do so and were suspended, including 27 who had received one dose of a two-dose vaccine, CBS News reported. The hospital system previously warned that unvaccinated employees would be fired as of June 21.
The policy has triggered a court challenge by a group of unvaccinated workers who claimed they are being used as “human guinea pigs,” CBS News reported. But Houston Methodist said in a statement that, “It is legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, as we have done with the flu vaccine since 2009.”
“As the first hospital system to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, we were prepared for this,” Marc Boom, M.D., the chief executive officer of Houston Methodist, said in a statement. “As of today, several other major health care centers have followed our lead and have announced their own vaccine mandates, with many more to follow soon.”
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