HOUSTON — This week, Houston Methodist suspended 178 employees for not being fully vaccinated as part of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Even there, 285 employees have been granted religious or medical exemptions, and another 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.
A spokesperson for Houston Methodist says unvaccinated employees undergo regular COVID-19 testing. All employees are required to wear PPE.
However, the COVID-19 vaccine is encouraged but not mandated at most other hospitals.
Do patients have the right to know if the people in the room treating them are vaccinated?
KHOU 11 legal analyst Carmen Roe says you’re free to ask your doctor or nurse if they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s up to the healthcare worker if they choose to answer.
“It’s a personal choice for everyone, and physicians are not any different. You could not go to a hospital and inquire about medical records associated with anyone who works there, because they’re private,” Roe said.
It is your right to pick where you receive care.
“A lot of people don’t think of it this way, but hospitals are businesses like everyone else. If you don’t feel comfortable with not getting the answer you want or you’re not comfortable being at that location, you have the right to go somewhere else, and you have the right to go to a physician who wants to share that information,” Roe said.
CDC guidelines still call for hospitals to require masks for everyone regardless of their vaccination status.
KHOU 11 asked several hospitals in the Texas Medical Center about whether patients can find out if the employees treating them are vaccinated.
Texas Children’s Hospital released the following statement:
"The health and well-being of our team members and patients is Texas Children’s Hospital’s top priority. Throughout the pandemic, we have worked tirelessly to provide the safest environment possible for our patients, their families and our staff. In accordance with CDC guidance and that of our clinical experts, our safety protocols – including PPE use, screening and social distancing – help us deliver on that commitment.
"Today, more than 81% of Texas Children’s team members have chosen to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and this number continues to grow. We will continue to offer vaccination to members of our workforce on a voluntary basis, at this time. We also understand and respect the choices of those in our community. Texas Children’s strongly encourages our workforce and all people who are eligible to get vaccinated, and will continue to work diligently to vaccinate as many eligible patients and members of the community as possible."