Over 100 protesters and counter-protesters gathered outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas on Saturday in opposition to the hospital system's COVID-19 vaccine mandate that led to over 150 lost jobs.
“I’m running out of options for my career because of a mandatory vaccine that could affect my fertility," Keri R., a registered nurse previously employed at Houston Methodist, told FOX 26 Houston at the protest.
The hospital system, which includes eight hospitals and over 26,000 employees, set a Monday, June 7 deadline for all employees to be fully vaccinated.
Employees not fully vaccinated by then were suspended for 14 days without pay. And at the end of the suspension, those not fully vaccinated were fired or resigned.
Over 150 former employees were fired or resigned over their refusal to receive the mandated COVID-19 vaccine.
Some employees received an exemption for pregnancy, medical and religious reasons.
The hospital’s April vaccine mandate made it the first major healthcare system in the United States to do so, ABC News reported.
Over 100 former employees have filed a lawsuit regarding the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy.
Jennifer Bridges, a registered nurse and the leading plaintiff, worked at the hospital for nearly seven years before being fired for refusing to receive the mandatory vaccine.
Bridges still has natural antibodies from already having the virus, which protects her from receiving it again.
She said they are not giving proper informed consent about the vaccine and are “turning people into guinea pigs.”
"I have personally witnessed horrible adverse reactions to hundreds and hundreds of people," Bridges told FOX 26 Houston on Saturday.
"It scares me because the public doesn’t know the truth," she said.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, Ronald Reagan appointee, dismissed the lawsuit on June 12, deeming Bridges’ allegations that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” “false” and “irrelevant,” according to court documents.
Bridges said they plan to continue fighting the hospital management’s mandated vaccine policy in court and believes the lawsuit will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently administered through an “Emergency Use Authorization” by the Food and Drug Administration but has not yet met the requirements to be FDA-approved since it is still in its early stages.
Dr. Marc Boom, Houston Methodist President and CEO, said around 25,000 members of the staff had been vaccinated, and he believes it is safe.
"We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation," Boom said in a statement.
"All our employees have now met the requirements of the vaccine policy and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” he continued. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do. They have fulfilled their sacred obligation as health care workers, and we couldn’t ask for a more dedicated, caring and talented team."
Boom said in a statement that “unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first.”
The Christian Post reached out to Houston Methodist Hospital for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
Reports have recently surfaced linking heart inflammation, especially in adolescents, to receiving the mRNA vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained that the benefits of receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks.
A CDC safety panel reported last week, however, that there is a likely a “likely association” between receiving the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults.
The latest report from the CDC shows over 179 million Americans, or 54%, are fully vaccinated.
Many public and private colleges and universities require students to receive the vaccination for the next school year, which has sparked concern.
Dr. Robert Malone, who helped create some of the mRNA technology used in the COVID-19 vaccine, appeared on Fox News' “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last week to discuss his concerns about the vaccine for people who are not at high risk for COVID-19, like children and young adults.
"[O]ne of my concerns are that the government is not being transparent with us about what those risks are. And so, I am of the opinion that people have the right to decide whether to accept vaccines or not, especially since these are experimental vaccines," Malone said on the show.
For young adults, at least, Malone said he has a “bias that the benefits probably don't outweigh the risks” and said a proper risk-benefit analysis had not been done.
Reports have also surfaced that West Point cadets have faced harsh treatment for opting out of receiving the vaccine.
New York has implemented a universal vaccine passport system to enter participating businesses, while other states like Florida have banned vaccine passports and restrict any business or entity from requiring proof of vaccination status.
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org