More than a hundred staff at a US hospital have either quit or been fired for refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine.
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by lead plaintiff and nurse Jennifer Bridges in response to Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas bringing in a mandatory vaccine mandate for all staff in April.
In the lawsuit, published online by the New York Times, Ms Bridges claimed staff should be exempt from the rule as the “currently available Covid-19 vaccines are experimental and dangerous”.
But US District Judge Lynn Hughes rejected Ms Bridges’ vaccine claim as false.
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“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,” Judge Hughes wrote.
“Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a Covid-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.”
Ms Bridges also likened Houston Methodist’s plans to fire staff who did not get the jab to “forced medical experimentation during the Holocaust”.
“Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Judge Hughes said in response.
“Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.”
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Houston Methodist, which employees more than 25,000 people, became the first major medical provider in the US to make vaccines for staff mandatory, giving them until June 7 to comply.
After June 7, 178 employees were suspended for two weeks and by the end of the fortnight 153 staff had either been terminated or quit for failing to get the jab, NPR reports.
In a statement released earlier this month, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to the vaccine rule.
“As of today, we are nearly 100 per cent compliant with our Covid-19 vaccine mandate with 24,947 of us being fully vaccinated,” he said in a statement, CNN reported.
“Houston Methodist is officially the first hospital system in the country to achieve this goal for the benefit of its patients.”
While vaccines currently aren’t mandatory in Australia there’s been a growing push to make all aged care and disability workers get the jab.
The proposal was discussed at a National Cabinet meeting earlier this month, however, a public health order would be needed to enforce any mandate.
“We need to look at how we can do this safely but the first point is, if you‘re working in aged care, indeed in disability care … we encourage you to go and get that vaccination,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time.
“The first priority is to ensure residential aged care facility residents themselves are vaccinated because they are the ones most at risk.”