Judge tosses hospital workers’ vaccine requirement challenge

People bring signs to protest Houston Methodist Hospital system’s rule of firing any employee who is not immunized by Monday, June 7, 2021, at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital in Baytown, Texas. Houston Methodist staff who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine so far and their supporters participated in a gathering and march. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement that all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Houston Methodist Hospital system suspended 178 employees without pay last week over their refusal to get vaccinated. Of them, 117 sued seeking to overturn the requirement and over their suspension and threatened termination. In a scathing ruling Saturday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes deemed the lead plaintiff’s contention that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant. He also said it was “reprehensible” of her to compare the vaccination requirement to the Nazis’ forced medical experimentation on concentration camp captives. The plaintiffs’ lawyer vowed to appeal.