Scores of workers at a Houston hospital system have been suspended and face being fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, a controversial company mandate that has drawn protests and an outcry from those facing termination.
Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom said the 178 workers represent less than 1% of almost 25,000 employees.
“We are nearly 100% compliant with our COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” Boom said in an email to staff Tuesday. “Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients.”
Boom said that 27 of the 178 suspended workers have received one dose of vaccine and that he is hopeful they will get the second dose. All are suspended for two weeks and are set to be fired if they fail to be fully vaccinated.
“I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first,” Boom said.
An additional 285 employees received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons, Boom said.
“I feel betrayed a little bit,” Amanda Rivera told KHOU-TV as she left the building Monday. “I worked in the ER. It was crazy during the pandemic. We were short-staffed. The hospital was over capacity with patients. It was just a lot. Now for them to come and do this is like a slap in the face.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon