Medika has been following the case of Houston Methodist Hospital and their decision to make Covid Vaccines mandatory for all their staff. On Saturday, a federal judge in Texas dismissed a lawsuit by healthcare workers who accused Houston Methodist of “unlawfully forcing its employees” to receive Covid vaccines or face dismissal.
Jennifer Bridges and 116 other plaintiffs claimed Houston Methodist Hospital was forcing its employees to get COVID vaccines that are “experimental and dangerous.” Firing employees for refusing the vaccine is “wrongful termination,” the plaintiffs said.
We should point out that although millions of Americans have already been vaccinated against Covid, the vaccines remain classified as EUA medicines (Emergency Use Authorization) and under Federal law cannot be mandated.
Houston Methodist suspended nearly 200 employees last week who had refused the vaccine.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes said in his ruling that Texas law only protects employees from being fired if they are asked to commit an illegal act that carries criminal penalties. According to the judge’s ruling,
“receiving a covid vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties.”
The plaintiffs argued that requiring employees to get the COVID vaccine violates federal law because the vaccines have not received full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are still Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) products.
Judge Hughes dismissed this claim, saying the law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to roll out “medical products intended for use in an emergency.”
“The law confers certain powers and responsibilities to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in an emergency. It neither expands nor restricts the responsibilities of private employers; in fact, it does not apply at all to private employers like the hospital in this case. It does not confer a private opportunity to sue the government, employer, or worker.”
In his ruling, Hughes said, claims that the vaccines are dangerous are “false, and it is also irrelevant.”
According to Our World in Data, the global covid vaccine drive has delivered the following results;
20.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
2.4 billion doses have been administered globally, and 33.1 million are now administered each day.
Only 0.8% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
Again, it should be stressed that the issue here isn’t about the immediate safety of the covid vaccine. That has been established beyond doubt. All the Covid vaccines carry a very, very minimal risk of side effects. The issue revolves around the long-term effects of the vaccines being undetermined.
We cannot know what we haven’t yet had time to study or assess.
The Texas ruling means employees of Houston Medical must provide proof of being vaccinated for COVID or lose their jobs.
Dr. Marc Boom, CEO, and president of Houston Methodist said in a statement:
“…99 percent of Houston Methodist’s 26,000 employees have met the requirements for the vaccination mandate. It is unfortunate that the few remaining employees who refuse to get vaccinated and put our patients first are responding in this way.”
Jared Woodfill, an attorney representing Bridges and other plaintiffs, said his clients are “committed to fighting this unjust policy.”
Woodfill told Fox News, Houston Methodist is using the covid vaccine mandate to promote profits. The hospital is trying to convince patients to leave their healthcare provider and come to Houston Methodist because all of its employees are vaccinated, said Woodfill.
“The problem with that line of thinking,” said Woodfill, “is that you’re telling the hospital’s employees they are going to be human guinea pigs.” For the plaintiffs, “this is a question of being able to pay their house notes, pay their car notes, provide for their families and avoid bankruptcy,” said Woodfill. “It’s just plain wrong.”
This ruling will no doubt provide other companies and employers the green light to start mandating Covid vaccines for their own staff. The federal government has been skirting around the issue, choosing to defer to individual state decisions.
Judge Hughes may just have pushed Washington into a corner, as more claims will no doubt arise from the consequences of his judgment. Remember his name, it’s going to be cropping up a lot in the months to come.