Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, faced backlash on Monday by staff members who are pushing back against the hospital’s demands that all employees must get vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus.
Dozens of Houston Methodist employees protested outside the hospital, some of them wielding signs, which read “Vaxx is Venom,” and “Don’t Lose Sight Of Our Rights,” according to a report by the New York Times.
One nurse who led the protest at the hospital said she will not get the vaccine, because it has not been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Houston Methodist Hospital became the first U.S. hospital system to require coronavirus vaccines for employees when it mandated that all staff members get the jab by June 7.
The hospital warned that employees who don’t get vaccinated by the Monday deadline will be placed on a two-week unpaid suspension, adding that it will “initiate the employee termination process” for staffers who are found to still be unvaccinated by the end of their suspensions.
Last month, 117 Houston Methodist Hospital employees filed a lawsuit against the hospital over the vaccine policy, the report adds. The lawsuit argues that the hospital is “forcing its employees to be human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment.”
Hesitancy about getting vaccinated against the coronavirus is not isolated to employees of Houston Methodist Hospital.
A survey conducted in March by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a little more than half of all frontline health care workers said they received at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine — despite the fact that health care workers were among the first groups eligible.
The survey also discovered that among the unvaccinated health care workers — who had not decided if they would get the vaccine or answered that they did not plan to — a large majority of them had concerns about potential side-effects, as well as the newness of the vaccine.
Two-thirds of the respondents said they did not trust the government to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.
Moreover, another survey published this week by the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll found that Americans are split on whether or not it is appropriate for companies to require proof of vaccination before employees can return to in-person work.