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World-renowned St. Jude children's hospital tells employees: Get vaccinated or get fired

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Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Alsac/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

World-renowned St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is now requiring that employees get COVID-19 vaccinations or get terminated, WMC-TV reported.

What are the details?

St. Jude employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 9, barring medical or religious exemptions, the station said, adding that the eight-week window is meant to give employees time to schedule and complete the vaccination process.

Employees who refuse to get vaccinated will be put on unpaid leave for two weeks, WMC added.

And if those employees have not started the vaccination process by the end of the unpaid leave period, they will be terminated, the station said.

The new policy was outlined in a letter sent Wednesday to employees from president and CEO Dr. James Downing to all employees of the Memphis hospital.

Downing cites the dangers of the Delta variant and its rapid spread as two factors that led to the decision to enact the vaccine mandate, WMC reported, adding that he said the requirement is meant to ensure that St. Jude patients and their families are in the "safest treatment environment possible."

"We reached this decision after much research, analysis, and discussion," Downing wrote, according to the station. "It is the right thing to keep our campus safe. Our duty to our patients frames everything we do. This is the logical next step to ensure we stay one step ahead of the virus."

Downing concludes by asking recipients to share the letter with fellow employees who "lack access to St. Jude email but do not share it with individuals outside of the hospital." WMC embedded a copy of the letter in its story.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine youtu.be

Anything else?

Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas last month suspended without pay at least 178 employees said to have refused COVID-19 vaccinations. Hospital president Dr. Marc Boom said unvaccinated employees "have decided not to put their patients first."

A few more than 100 employees filed a lawsuit in May against the hospital, arguing that the vaccines are "experimental" and that the hospital shouldn't be permitted to force employees to receive unapproved vaccines "on penalty of termination or other sanctions," including suspensions.

But a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit last month, ruling that Houston Methodist's vaccine policy is just like any employer-instituted workplace policy.

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