First Hospital in Nation to Require COVID-19 Vaccines Will End Mandate

The hospital announced the change in policy in an internal email to employees.

Houston Methodist, which made national headlines after becoming the first hospital in the United States to mandate the COVID-19 vaccines, will no longer require its employees to receive the contentious shots, thanks to a new law passed by the Texas legislature that prohibits employers from denying workers in the private sector vaccine choice.

The hospital announced the policy change in an internal email to employees, which The Epoch Times reviewed, saying that employees who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be barred from working at the institution beginning Dec. 1.

“The Texas Legislature passed a law in the special session that prohibits private employers from requiring employees and contractors to get a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment,” according to the press release. “While we will continue to encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it will no longer be required at Houston Methodist.” This means that getting the vaccine or obtaining an exemption will no longer be a requirement for employment.”

The statement added that the hospital “has always put the safety of our patients and employees first.”

Dr. Mary Talley Bowden, a Texas practitioner and founder of the Coalition of Health Freedom, told The Epoch Times that the hospital’s decision to be the first to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine was not only ill-conceived, but also unleashed a series of negative ripple effects in terms of medical freedom that would quickly spread to other institutions across the country.

“Houston Methodist and their CEO Dr. Marc Boom coerced nearly 30,000 employees to get an experimental modified mRNA shot with no long-term safety data,” Dr. Bowden said in a statement. “Their mandate policy was the first in the country and paved the way for the government and other businesses to impose a highly unethical employment policy on millions of Americans.”

On June 8, 2021, Houston Methodist became the nation’s first hospital system to require the shot for its private health care providers. Houston Methodist Chief Physician Executive Dr. Rob Phillips justified the decision in a letter to hospital staff, claiming that forcing employees to take the vaccine was their moral obligation, writing, “It is our duty as health care professionals to do no harm and protect the safety of all of us — our colleagues, our patients, and our society.”
The hospital had not responded to The Epoch Times’ request for comment at the time of publication.

Controversy on Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines have been embroiled in controversy for the past two years. More than 80% of Americans received the original COVID-19 vaccines after officials promised that the shots would be effective in both preventing infection and stopping the spread of the virus. However, once it was revealed that the shots did not work as advertised, interest in the subsequent booster shots dropped precipitously.
Vaccines could also be blamed for widespread reports of negative health outcomes thought to be the result of the shots. According to the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, COVID-19 vaccines have been named as the primary suspect in over 1.5 million adverse event reports. The figures could even be higher. An FDA-funded Harvard study (pdf) discovered that VAERS cases account for less than 1% of all vaccine adverse events.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) V-safe website abruptly stopped collecting adverse event reports in August, with no explanation. “Thank you for your participation,” the V-safe website says as of Wednesday morning. COVID-19 vaccine data collection will end on June 30, 2023.”
As a result, according to a Gallup tracking poll, trust in health officials has dropped 10 points in the last two years, from 44 percent to 34 percent.
Nearly all Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, should receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine. According to the most recent available data, approximately 5% of Americans have received one of the new shots.

The Texas law prohibiting private businesses from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates was passed by the state legislature before being signed into law on Nov. 10 by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The bill was approved by the state House by a vote of 91-54, and by the state Senate by a vote of 17-11.

Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said as he signed the bill in Austin that it was important to protect Texans’ right “to make their own decisions about what health care they want to access and what health care they want to reject.”

According to the law, a “employer may not adopt or enforce a mandate requiring an employee, contractor, applicant for employment, or applicant for a contract position to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment or a contract position.”

Texas State Rep. Brian Harrison, who first introduced the bill in 2021, expressed disappointment that it took so long to become law, writing on X, “This is great. But… imagine how many lives could have been saved if the Texas COVID Vaccine Freedom Act had been passed when I first proposed it… MORE THAN TWO YEARS AGO.”
While it is a positive step that choice has been restored to hospital employees, Dr. Bowden believes that the administration’s decision to force employees to choose between a shot they may not believe is safe and their ability to earn a living should have consequences.

“The ramifications are immense and though I am happy they (the vaccine mandates) have been stopped, we still need to hold them accountable,” Dr. Bowden said.

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