A handful of Houston Methodist workers assembled on Monday night at the hospital’s Baytown campus to criticize the hospital’s requirements that all rank-and-file staffs take the COVID-19 vaccination by June 7 to maintain their employment.
Anti-vaccine supporters from the neighborhood accompanied the unvaccinated workers, holding posters opposing Houston Methodist’s vaccine mandate and COVID-19 vaccinations in particular.
Jennifer Bridges, a Baytown nurse, coordinated a “walkout” of non-compliant Houston Methodist staff for 7:45 p.m. Monday, nearly an hour after her last job.
Bridges, who has spearheaded a small but dedicated group of Houston Methodist employees who have refused to cooperate with the hospital’s vaccine requirement, informed the Houston Press that those preparations had been thwarted earlier that day.
“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 said.
As a result, a crowd of roughly 70 people gathered in the center of Baker Road, near the Baytown hospital, on the driveways.
“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.”
Pierre Charland, a Houston Methodist Medical Center nurse, went back to Baytown to rally with his colleagues against the vaccination mandate. Charland, who also supported the case against Houston Methodist, expressed his dissatisfaction with the hospital’s requirement for the vaccinations before they could be completely approved by FDA.
“I knew that if there was a hospital that would do it, it would be Methodist early on,” Charland said. “They like to give vaccines. I’ve worked other places, and they don’t worry so much about employee health.”
Workers will be terminated if not vaccinated
Personnel was instructed that if they didn’t get at least one vaccination dose by midnight Monday, they’d be placed on two-week unsupervised probation, after which they’d be terminated, according to Charland.
“I mean, I wouldn’t risk losing my job for not getting the flu shot. But this one is different,” Charland claimed.
Smith assured that not a single worker will be terminated
“No Houston Methodist employees walked off the job this evening,” Smith confirmed afterward on Monday evening.
“All employees seen leaving this evening were just leaving after their normal shift,” she said.
Bridges were taken aback by how upset she felt at the end of her last shift on Monday. She remarked, “As I was leaving, I started crying.” “And I took off my mask, got my shirt on, and just walked out, said, ‘I’m done.’”
Maria Mosqueda and Udeen Greene, both in their scrubs and wearing surgical masks, stood across the street on Houston Methodist grounds Monday evening, watching the throng of demonstrators.
Mosqueda and Greene, both registered nurses who assist at the Baytown hospital, got the chance to somehow get immunized as quickly as the vaccines became accessible to Houston Methodist staff this year. They explained that they don’t comprehend why the professionals with whom they’ve served do not believe in the evidence that proves immunizations are effective in treating.
“They have the right to get vaccinated or not, but Methodist, they have the right to take care of, first, the patients,” Mosqueda said.