A Texas hospital is the first in the country to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its staff

Covid vaccineMario Tama/Getty ImagesA medical assistant administers a COVID-19 vaccine dose to a woman at a clinic in Los Angeles on March 25, 2021.
  • A hospital system in Texas is now the first in the nation to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.
  • Houston Methodist set a June 7 deadline for all employees to get vaccinated, a spokesperson said.
  • So far, 89% of all 26,000 employees have complied and received a vaccine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Houston Methodist system – made up of 26,000 employees across one medical center and six community hospitals – is the nation’s first hospital system to require that all employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Houston Methodist is mandating that all employees get vaccinated by June 7, a spokesperson confirmed to Insider. Managers were instructed to get fully vaccinated by April 15.

“Mandating the vaccine was not a decision we made lightly, but science has proven that the COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and very effective. Like I say to everyone who asks-whether they are reporters, the public, patients or our employees, it is our sacred obligation to do everything possible to keep our patients safe,” Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of Houston Methodist, said in an email to employees Friday, which Insider viewed.

“By choosing to be vaccinated, you are leaders-showing our colleagues in health care what must be done to protect our patients, ourselves, our families and our communities,” he continued.

Boom also said other hospitals in Texas will follow the lead of Houston Methodist.

So far, the mandate has been vastly successful, with 89% of all Houston Methodist employees having received the vaccine, Boom said in his email.

In March, before the mandate was instituted, the hospital system offered employees who got the vaccine a $500 incentive.

Since then and since requiring vaccination, some employees have pushed back.

After requiring that all employees receive the vaccine, Houston Methodist saw two managers leave. There are about 1,200 employees in management positions there.

An unnamed person who says they’re an employee at Houston Methodist started a petition to force the hospital to rescind its vaccine mandate. So far, it has more than 3,800 signatures.

“Many employees are scared that they will lose their job or be forced to inject the vaccine into their body against their will to keep their jobs and feed their family,” the petition says. “We just want the power to choose for ourselves and not take this basic American right away from us! Please help our cause to fight for all the nurses, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, pharmacy staff, phlebotomists, etc.”

Employees who do not get the vaccine have been warned they could be fired, Insider’s Grace Dean reported.

So far, more than 26% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University.

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