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One of the first major hospital systems to publicly require all employees receive a COVID-19 vaccination has announced a nearly 100% vaccination rate among its staff.
In an email sent to all employees Tuesday and forwarded by a spokeswoman to Business Insurance, Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist Hospital system in Texas said nearly all of its 26,000 employees have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
In late April, the hospital system announced that it would require all workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be subject to suspension and/or termination. Several other hospital systems in the country have followed suit.
The hospital granted 285 workers a medical or religious exemption and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other conditions, but 178 employees refused to get the vaccine and did not have a medical or religious exemption or deferral. Of those, 27 have received one dose.
Workers who refused the vaccine are now suspended without pay for 14 days unless they receive a second dose or receive a one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the email.
The hospital system faced public backlash over its decision as well as a lawsuit filed by 117 workers over the forced vaccination policy who argued that the hospital was “forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment.”
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
Employers can require their workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 but should keep in mind that some individuals or demographic groups may be more likely to be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in guidance issued Friday.