Former Texas hospital workers demand jobs back after governor bans vaccination mandates

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Former Houston Methodist employees who resigned or were fired for not complying with the system's vaccination requirements are demanding their jobs back after Texas Gov.Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccination mandates, according to Houston Public Media

The governor's executive order, issued Oct. 11, bans any entity in Texas, including private employers, from enforcing COVID-19 vaccination mandates. The order states that "no entity in Texas" can enforce vaccination against anyone, including an employee or consumer, who objects "for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19."

A lawyer representing more than 150 former Houston Methodist employees who parted ways with the system in June for not complying with its mandate sent a letter to the system Oct. 12, demanding the workers be rehired, according to Houston Public Media.

Houston Methodist President and CEO Marc Boom, MD, said he's disappointed in the governor's order and that system leaders are reviewing the order's implications.  

"As the first hospital system in the country to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for employees and physicians, we are deeply disappointed in the governor's order that tries to prohibit such mandates," Dr. Boom said in an Oct. 12 statement shared with Becker's. "We are proud of our employees and physicians, who are 100 percent compliant with our vaccine policy.”

Dr. Boom's views were echoed by Texas Hospital Association President and CEO Ted Shaw. 

"Texas hospitals strongly oppose efforts underway to hamstring them from being able to require vaccination of their own staff, many of whom are at the bedside every day with children and adults who are vulnerable to COVID-19," Mr. Shaw said in an Oct. 12 statement shared with Becker's. "This political action undercuts the central mission of hospitals, and patients and staff cannot be put at unnecessary risk."

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