HOUSTON – Houston Methodist Hospital becomes one of the first big hospitals to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for everyone who works there.
President and CEO Dr. Marc Boom made the announcement in the following letter:
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have shown leadership to our city, the rest of the country, and the world for our care of COVID-19 patients, our infection control practices and our research on promising new treatments. We also have led the way in vaccinations, administering more than 470,000 so far. And now it is our opportunity to keep leading medicine.
“As part of Houston Methodist management, we must lead by example and get vaccinated ourselves. In fact, 95% of our management and 100% of our executives are already vaccinated. At Houston Methodist, we’ve made a commitment to offer our patients unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation. When we choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 we are prioritizing safety by helping stop the spread of this deadly virus and keeping our patients, visitors and colleagues safe. As we move closer to announcing mandatory vaccinations for all employees, we need you to go first—to lead by example and show our employees how important getting vaccinated is. We are already requiring all new hires be vaccinated as a condition of them joining Houston Methodist.
“I am grateful to the vast majority of you who are already vaccinated, but we need to aim for 100% of our management being vaccinated. You now have until April 15 to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or get an approved exemption. If not, we will follow HR policy on non-compliance.
“We can make a powerful statement to our employees if we are required to be vaccinated first. Thank you for continuing your unparalleled leadership, which has made a big difference in our fight against COVID-19.
“About 83% of our employees have been vaccinated. Soon you will receive a list of your employees who have not gotten at least one vaccine. Because all employees will be required to be vaccinated soon, we ask that you begin talking to your staff about the importance of the vaccine. I have included an FAQ that might help you with these conversations, and we will keep this updated. Like we have said for months, it will soon be mandatory for all employees. Thank you for getting vaccinated and thank you for leading your staff to make the right decision to help protect our patients.”
Carole Hackett, senior vice president of human resources at Houston Methodist, said employees would be educated on the facts of the vaccine.
“Certainly we do allow exemptions for medical exemptions or religious exemptions but if they don’t have any exemptions then they can be terminated for not getting the vaccine,” Hackett said.
KPRC 2 Investigates sent a poll to local hospitals asking about vaccination rates. All hospitals that responded offered them to 100% of their healthcare workers.
As of last week, Houston Methodist’s vaccine rate was the highest.
“The number of our employees getting sick with COVID has greatly reduced as the number of vaccines has increased,” Hackett said. “So, we know it works, we know it works.”