More than a hundred healthcare workers have filed a lawsuit against a hospital network in Houston, Texas, arguing that they don’t want to be forced to take an “experimental” Covid-19 vaccine out of fear of getting fired.
Marc Boom, the CEO of Houston Methodist, a firm that runs eight hospitals with more than 26,000 employees, gave personnel a June 7 deadline to get vaccinated. The consequences of not getting the shot include “suspension and eventually termination,” he wrote in an April letter to doctors and nurses, which was cited in the lawsuit filed on Friday.
A total of 117 plaintiffs are insisting that the hospital is “illegally requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine.” The hospital is forcing the staff to be “human ‘guinea pigs’ as a condition for continued employment,” the lawsuit says.
“It is a severe and blatant violation of the Nuremberg Code and the public policy of the state of Texas,” attorney Jared Woodfill, who filed the lawsuit in Montgomery County, told ABC News. Written shortly after WWII, the Nuremberg Code lays out the basic ethical principles of medical experimentation on humans.
A group of medical workers held a protest against the vaccination mandate outside Houston Methodist this month. “This is my body, this is my choice, and I don’t think employers, or anyone should mandate what goes into my body,” Kim Mikeska, a registered nurse, told the Houston Chronicle.
Houston Methodist nurse Jennifer Bridges, the lead plaintiff in the case, told the Washington Post this month that she had received “every vaccine known to man” in the past, but believed the coronavirus vaccines needed further study.
The lawsuit referred to the vaccines as “experimental COVID-19 mRNA gene modification injection.” The US Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson after the required trials were completed. They are yet to be granted full approval, which requires a more rigorous review.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the mRNA-type Pfizer and Moderna vaccines not affect or interact with the human DNA in any way.
Marc Boom issued a statement to the media, saying that 99% of the hospital network’s employees have been vaccinated. “It is legal for health care institutions to mandate vaccines, as we have done with the flu vaccine since 2009,” the CEO said, adding that the Covid-19 vaccines were proven to be “very safe and very effective, and are not experimental.”
Boom said that more than 165 million people across the US were vaccinated, which “has resulted in the lowest numbers of infections in our country and in the Houston region in more than a year.”