Texas Hospital Launches First COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the nation, some companies are incentivizing the process while others are just mandating it. The Houston Methodist hospital system in Texas was the first to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all staff members after national hesitancy among frontline health care workers getting vaccinated. The hospital system, which includes a medical center and six community hospitals, alerted its staff members that they have until June 7 to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or run the risk of getting fired.

Mr. Marc Boom, Houston’s Methodist’s president and CEO, talked about trusting the effectiveness of the vaccine in a town hall meeting earlier this month and shared that they are the answer to the pandemic. He also wrote an email to his employees that countless hospital leaders across the country plan to follow in their footsteps and mandate COVID-19 vaccinations soon, including Memorial Hermann and Baylor College of Medicine. He said they are getting to the “last mile of people who are more reluctant” and that by getting vaccinations to 100%, they can show the community how much they care about their patients.

“Mandating the vaccine was not a decision we made lightly, but science has proven that the COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and very effective. Like I say to everyone who asks—whether they are reporters, the public, patients, or our employees, it is our sacred obligation to do everything possible to keep our patients safe. By choosing to be vaccinated, you are leaders—showing our colleagues in health care what must be done to protect our patients, ourselves, our families, and our communities,” Dr. Boom wrote in an email.

The medical center first incentivized getting the vaccine shot in March by offering a reward of $500 for vaccinated workers. They later issued a vaccination mandate for hospital managers to get their shots by April 15. So far, 89% of Houston Methodist employees have complied with the vaccination policy.

But the vaccination mandate has prompted some pushback, including Houston Methodist nurse Jennifer Bridges who launched an online petition against the mandate. She writes that those who want to get the vaccine should have the choice to do so, but that you should not be forced into doing something you are not comfortable with.

“Many employees are scared that they will lose their job or be forced to inject the vaccine into their body against their will to keep their jobs and feed their family. We just want the power to choose for ourselves,” the petition reads.

Bridges adds that she’s not against the vaccine, but wants to be more comfortable and have thorough research done before taking it, which is the same as when patients have the right to refuse treatment. She said she would only take the COVID-19 vaccine once it received full FDA approval. So far, the petition has received more than 3,1000 signatures

The legality of vaccine mandates is still questionable since workplace requirements are a “matter of state or other applicable law,” but there is nothing that says an employer can force workers to hand over medical information to prove they’ve been vaccinated. The American Disabilities Act currently allows exemptions for religious or disabilities reasons that preclude taking the vaccine, but not for employers to fire workers who decline to be vaccinated.

With the rise of vaccine passports and immunization mandates, the radical left are looking to exclude citizens from everyday life and divide society into two classes of people – one that blindly follows the rules and one that gets fired for asking the right questions.