HOUSTON, Texas -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of employees at a Houston, Texas hospital system who were fighting the hospital's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes called the lawsuit frivolous.
116 Houston Methodist Hospital employees sued Houston Methodist late last month after the entity set a June 7 deadline for workers to be vaccinated.
"We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation," hospital president and CEO Marc Boom said Saturday in a statement. "All our employees have now met the requirements of the vaccine policy and I couldn't be prouder of them."
The hospital made good on its threat and suspended 178 employees last week for not complying with the requirement, according to a statement by Houston Methodist representatives. A temporary restraining order to block those suspensions was also denied.
"The public's interest in having a hospital capable of caring for patients during a pandemic far outweighs protecting the vaccination preferences of 116 employees," Hughes wrote. "The plaintiffs are not just jeopardizing their own health; they are jeopardizing the health of doctors, nurses, support staff, patients and their families."
In a statement issued by Houston Methodist Tuesday evening, 24,947 employees complied and are fully vaccinated.
The 178 who did not comply were a mix of full- and part-time employees. They were not granted an exemption or deferral and were suspended without pay for the next 14 days.
Hospital officials said 285 workers received a medical or religious exemption, another 332 employees were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.
Jennifer Bridges told ABC13 earlier this month that she does not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine because it does not have full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The vaccine is currently being used in the U.S. under emergency use authorization from the FDA. Pfizer began its full application for full approval last month.