A handful of Houston Methodist employees gathered Monday night at the hospital chain’s Baytown branch to protest the hospital’s mandate that all rank-and-file employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine by June 7 in order to keep their jobs.
The unvaccinated staff was joined by anti-vaccine activists from the community, who carried posters against Houston Methodist’s vaccine mandate and COVID-19 vaccines in general.
A “walkout” of non-compliant Houston Methodist employees was planned for 7:45 p.m. Monday, roughly an hour after her final shift.
Bridges, who has become the head of a small but vocal group of Houston Methodist employees who have refused to comply with the hospital’s vaccine demand told the Houston Press that those preparations had been thwarted earlier that day by hospital security.
“They sent emails, and then I got a call from their head of security stating that we weren’t allowed to be on the property doing this,” Bridges explained. As a result, some 70 protesters gathered on the medians in the center of Baker Road alongside the Baytown hospital.
“They can’t control us out here,” Bridges said. “I’m tired of being controlled and I’m tired of people trying to tell me what to do.”
Bridges is one of 117 Houston Methodist employees who filed a lawsuit against the hospital chain on May 28, claiming that the mandatory vaccine requirement violated the Nuremberg Code, a set of international medical ethics guidelines developed during World War II to prevent heinous medical experiments like those carried out by the Nazis. Despite the lawsuit’s assertions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published new guidance last month, reiterating that it is legal for firms in the United States to demand coronavirus vaccinations for their employees.
Dr. Marc Boom, president, and CEO of Houston Methodist announced the hospital’s obligatory immunization policy in March. Managers were required to get vaccinated by mid-April, while the majority of hospital personnel had until June 7 to take at least one dose of any of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration following lengthy studies.
Pierre Charland, a Houston Methodist Medical Center nurse, drove out to Baytown to join his coworkers who reject the vaccine requirement. Charland, who also signed on to the complaint against Houston Methodist, expressed dissatisfaction with the hospital’s requirement for the immunizations before they were completely approved by the FDA.