(HealthDay News) — A lawsuit brought by a group of Houston Methodist employees over the hospital’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy was dismissed Saturday by a federal judge.

The lawsuit was signed by 117 of 178 workers who were suspended last week for failure to get fully vaccinated by the hospital’s deadline, CBS News reported. The lawsuit alleged that the vaccination rule “requires the employee to subject themselves to medical experimentation as a prerequisite to feeding their families,” likening them to “guinea pigs.”

In his ruling, US District Judge Lynn Hughes said claims that the vaccines are dangerous are “false, and it is also irrelevant,” and that the hospital’s policy does not violate federal law or public policy, CBS News reported.

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“This is the first battle in a long fight,” lawsuit attorney and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said. “There are going to be many battles fought. Not just in this courtroom, but in courtrooms all across the state. There are battles that are going to be fought in the higher courts, the 5th Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, even the United States Supreme Court. So this is just one battle in a larger war. It’s the first round, if you will.”

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