Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas has suspended over 170 employees for two weeks without pay, after they refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The suspensions come after a new May policy requiring all 26,000 workers to get full courses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines by June 7 or face termination.
The hospital says 99% of its employees - 24,947 - are fully vaccinated, however a group of 178 workers who have refused and have now been punished.
Meanwhile, 117 employees are suing the hospital, claiming that they've been pressured into becoming 'human guinea pigs'.
Hospital staff were first given until mid-April before the deadline was extended to early June, with $500 bonus payments offered to employees who got vaccinated early. At the time, two employees chose to leave the hospital instead of getting vaccinated. Those with religious or health exemptions had until May 3 to apply for a waiver. According to the Washington Post, 285 employees were given medical exemptions, while 332 received medical deferrals.