A group of 117 health care workers is suing Houston Methodist Hospital for its policy requiring its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition to remain employed.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a temporary injunction against the hospital, arguing its policy violates both state and federal law.
“For the first time in the history of the United States, an employer is forcing an employee to participate in an experimental vaccine trial as a condition for continued employment,” their attorney, Houston-based attorney Jared Woodfill, told The Center Square.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Montgomery County. Plaintiffs argue the hospital’s policy violates state law and has caused injury to them in the form of lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, lost benefits, lost future earnings and mental anguish, among others.
The hospital’s policy also violates federal law, the complaint argues, which specifically states that a drug issued under Emergency Use Authorization is experimental and cannot be mandated as a condition of employment.
On March 31, 2021, Houston Methodist Hospital became the first major health care system in the United States to require its employees to take the experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection or be fired, Woodfill says.
“No matter what’s going on in the world, taking care of your health should always be a priority,” marketing material distributed by the hospital reads. “At Houston Methodist, our primary and specialty care doctors are available to provide expert care for you and your family safely. And we are taking it one step further to protect you: Houston Methodist will require all employees and employed physicians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Houston Methodist employs 26,000 people. Its CEO, Marc Boom, told the Houston Chronicle that 99% of staff “have met the requirements for the hospital’s vaccine rule, and said vaccines are part of the ‘sacred obligation’ required of health care workers.
“It is unfortunate that the few remaining employees who refuse to get vaccinated and put our patients first are responding in this way,” Boom said. “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.”
Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a patient’s rights advocate who heads the nonprofit organization, Children’s Health Defense, disagrees.
“All COVID-19 vaccines are merely authorized, not approved or licensed, by the federal government; they are Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only. They merely ‘may be effective,’” Kennedy said.
Emergency Use Authorized drugs fall under Title 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(I-III) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The law states those given the option to take the drug must be informed that the drug falls under emergency use authorization, that “the significant known and potential benefits and risks of such use, and of the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown,” and that they have the option “to accept or refuse administration of the product.”
Kennedy said that no court has ever upheld a mandate for an EUA vaccine.
This article was originally posted on Health care workers sue Houston Methodist over vaccine requirement