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Houston Hospital Threatens to Fire Workers Who Refuse COVID-19 Vaccine

Houston Methodist started with a carrot to ensure all of its 26,000 employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now it’s using a stick.

The hospital system is requiring that all of its workers get their shots by June 7, making it the first hospital system in the U.S. to issue a vaccination mandate. Managers at the hospital faced an earlier deadline and had to get their shots by April 15.

Houston Methodist — a medical center and six community hospitals — rewarded its vaccinated workers with an extra $500 back in March, while also signaling that at some point the shots would no longer be voluntary for its workers.

The health system needs to do all it can to keep patients safe during the pandemic, and that includes having all staff vaccinated, Dr. Marc Boom, Houston Methodist’s president and CEO, told employees on Friday in an emailed message.

“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.”

Other hospitals will soon follow suit, with plans already in the works at two other medical centers in Texas: Memorial Hermann and Baylor College of Medicine, the physician noted. “I have spoken to countless hospital leaders across the country who plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccination soon,” he added in the email, which was shared with CBS MoneyWatch. Read Full Article >

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