A federal judge on Saturday ruled in favor of a Houston hospital requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reports NBC News.
The lawsuit, filed by 117 employees at Houston Methodist Hospital, maintained that the vaccines available for use in the U.S. were dangerous and experimental.
“This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer,” said U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes in the Southern District of Texas.
“The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial.”
Hughes also denied a request for a restraining order to block the hospital from suspending unvaccinated employees.
The deadline for employees to get the vaccine was last week. More than 170 employees were suspended without pay for two weeks after not complying.
“In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs falsely claimed that the COVID-19 vaccines are not safe. With more than 300 million doses administered in the United States alone, the vaccines have proven to be extremely safe. The number of both positive cases and hospitalizations continues to drop around the country, proving that the vaccines are working in keeping our community protected,” Houston Methodist wrote in a statement.
The employees’ lawyers said the group would appeal.
“All of my clients continue to be committed to fighting this unjust policy,” Jared Woodfill said in a written statement. “What is shocking is that many of my clients were on the front line treating COVID-positive patients at Texas Methodist Hospital during the height of the pandemic. As a result, many of them contracted COVID-19. As a thank you for their service and sacrifice, Methodist Hospital awards them a pink slip and sentences them to bankruptcy.”
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