Houston Methodist giving workers $500 bonus but they must get vaccine to qualify

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Methodist is offering its employees a $500 bonus as a "thank you" for their work throughout the pandemic.

In a letter issued to hospital staff last week, president and CEO of Houston Methodist Dr. Marc Boom said the bonus will be given to employees in early March, but there are certain criteria workers have to meet.

"Eligibility criteria will include getting a COVID-19 vaccination, fulfilling [Houston Methodist's] obligation as health care workers to lead the community," wrote Boom.

Though vaccination is not mandatory for Houston Methodist employees yet, Boom said it will be "eventually."

"We recognize the vital importance of all of us getting vaccinated to protect our patients, our community, ourselves and our family and friends," said Boom. "Further discussion is ongoing about the small number of employees who cannot safely get the vaccine."

According to the city of Houston's health department, the city's COVID-19 positivity rate is the highest it's been since its peak in July at 13.9%.

"We must stop the spread NOW so our hospital system can keep up," read a tweet by the health department.

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