Several Houston Methodist nurses protest COVID-19 vaccine job requirement

The deadline for the employees to receive the vaccine at midnight on June 7.
The deadline for the employees to receive the vaccine at midnight on June 7.

HOUSTON – Several Houston Methodist nurses and employees protested the vaccine requirement that goes into effect after Monday, June 7.

“I took my mask off, threw my mask on, walked out the door, and here I am,” nurse Jennifer Bridges said. “They are not doing the right thing. They need to give people choices. They can’t force things upon people.”

Bridges organized a demonstration outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Baytown where dozens of supporters and employees voiced concern over the issue.

“I feel like they kind of bullied us into this little corner like you have to do it or you don’t have a job. This is my only source of income,” ER nurse Amanda Rivera said. Rivera is not on the lawsuit but supports the cause.

“My suspension starts tomorrow. It will be two weeks with no pay and if you don’t comply, you go to termination,” Rivera said.

Houston Methodist released the following statement in regards to the walkout:

“Today is the deadline for Houston Methodist employees to comply with the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy. We are proud to report that almost 100 percent of our 26,000 employees have complied, making the right decision to fulfill their sacred obligation to protect our patients. Unfortunately, a few employees have not met the vaccine requirements and are inviting other employees to join them as they end their shifts today. We fully support the right of our employees to peacefully gather on their own time, but it is unacceptable to even suggest they abandon their patients to participate in this activity. We have faith that our employees will continue putting our patients first. It is unfortunate that today’s milestone of Houston Methodist becoming the safest hospital system in the country is being overshadowed by a few disgruntled employees.”

Last week, a lawsuit was filed against Houston Methodist over its mandate for “requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine as a condition of employment,” according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Jared R. Woodfill.

Woodfill said he is representing 117 workers who are included in the suit, including Jennifer Bridges a Houston Methodist nurse who said her last day was Monday.

The lawsuit states that for the first time in U.S. history, an employer is forcing its employees to be vaccinated “with an experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection” or be fired. Monday, June 7 is the deadline for employees to be vaccinated.

“Methodist Hospital is forcing its employees to be human “guinea pigs” as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit states.

Woodfill states that employees should have freedom of choice to take the vaccine without “force, deceit, fraud, threat, solicitation, or any type of binding or coercion.” He said the mandate is a violation of the Nuremberg Code and the public policy of the state of Texas.

Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist responded to the lawsuit with the following statement:

As of today, 99 percent of Houston Methodist’s 26,000 employees have met the requirements for the vaccination mandate. We are extremely proud of our employees for doing the right thing and protecting our patients from this deadly virus. As health care workers, it is our sacred obligation to do whatever we can to protect our patients, who are the most vulnerable in our community. It is our duty and our privilege.

It is unfortunate that the few remaining employees who refuse to get vaccinated and put our patients first are responding in this way. It is legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, as we have done with the flu vaccine since 2009. The COVID-19 vaccines have proven through rigorous trials to be very safe and very effective and are not experimental. More than 165 million people in the U.S. alone have received vaccines against COVID-19, and this has resulted in the lowest numbers of infections in our country and in the Houston region in more than a year.

We proudly stand by our employees and our mission to protect our patients.

Read the full lawsuit below:

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