Former Houston-area nurses say they could help with shortage if there weren't mandatory vaccine policies

Hospitals across the country are seeing a surge in COVID-19 patients while also dealing with a shortage of medical workers.

"There are not enough nurses," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee at a recent press conference.

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott ordered 2,500 out-of-state medical workers to help overwhelmed hospitals across Texas.

TROUBLING TREND: Texas sees most COVID-19 hospitalizations in 6 months

Experts say medical workers were in high demand before the pandemic. However, the issue seems to be more noticeable recently as COVID hospitalizations rise.

On Thursday, we met with two Houston medical workers who recently changed jobs when their hospitals announced mandatory Coronavirus vaccine requirements.

"Let us help these patients, instead of punishing us and getting rid of our jobs, because we don’t want to take a particular medication," said Jennifer Bridges, a former Houston Methodist employee.

Bridges has been protesting Houston Methodist Hospital’s mandatory vaccine policy for weeks.  She, and more than 150 other hospital workers, filed a lawsuit against Methodist’s new policy.

RELATED: More than 100 employees suing Houston Methodist for requiring them to get COVID-19 vaccine

"With my own eyes, I’ve seen way too many adverse reactions," said Bridges. "From the slightest things like a headache, to paralysis and death. I’m not willing to take that chance."

We also met with Taylor Rogers about her decision to not get vaccinated. Rogers is a former staff member at Memorial Hermann.

"There are too many unknowns, especially for someone in their twenties," said Rogers. "There are other treatments."


However, doctors and experts from the Texas Medical Center insist the vaccines are much safer than getting sick with COVID-19.

"We know based on scientific evidence that the vaccines are safe and effective," said Dr. David Callender, President of Memorial Hermann.

So far, Memorial Hermann, Houston Methodist, and St. Luke’s hospitals have all announced mandatory vaccine policies.

"We may lose a few [staff members], but we believe this is the right thing to do for our employees, patients, and the community," said Dr. Callender.


"If you gave these nurses a choice, and just let them wear PPE if they didn’t want to take the shot, you’d have thousands of more nurses able to help you in the hospital with this influx of patients," said Bridges.