As Omicron surges among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, the prestigious Mayo Clinic has taken the extreme step of firing 700 unvaccinated employees. Even though vaccines haven’t been proven to stop the spread of Omicron, the targeting of unvaccinated employees continues.
NBC News reports the nonprofit clinic’s staff had been given until Monday to get their first dose of a vaccine or obtain a medical or religious exemption to the rule. They were also expected not to wait before receiving a second shot.
Hundreds of employees failed to meet those requirements and were let go, the Mayo Clinic said in a statement shared with NBC on Wednesday.
The medical center declined to provide vaccination rates at individual clinics but said “nearly 99 percent” of all of its locations had complied.
The clinic said approximately 1 percent of its staff, or around 700 people, would be “released from employment.”
Workers Let Go at Clinics Arizona and Minnesota Locations
The Florida Times-Union reports the unvaccinated employees who were fired — at Mayo’s Arizona and Minnesota locations — makeup about 1 percent of its total workforce of about 73,000.
The newspaper also reported none of the employees at the Mayo’s Jacksonville, FL, location had been let go as of Wednesday.
“Only medical or religious exemptions were allowed and the majority of medical and religious exemption requests were approved,” according to the clinic’s statement. “The required vaccination program… is comparable to what other health care organizations have experienced in implementing similar vaccine requirement programs.”
“While Mayo Clinic is saddened to lose valuable employees, we need to take all steps necessary to keep our patients, workforce, visitors, and communities safe,” the clinic said.
However, the medical center also added those who were let go, could apply for future jobs at the clinic if they got their shots.
“If individuals released from employment choose to get vaccinated at a later date, the opportunity exists for them to apply and return to Mayo Clinic for future job openings,” it said.
Last Month, Minnesota Nurses Pleaded with Hospital CEOs for More Help
Fox News reports the Rochester, Minnesota-based medical center fired employees over its vaccine mandate less than a month after the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference to plead with various hospital CEOs in the state to address a staffing and retention crisis.
“To our hospital CEOs and elected officials, please hear us: Nurses need more than words, we need action to address the crisis of staffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals,” said Mary C. Turner, union president, and a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse.
Mandate Received Backlash from Minnesota Lawmakers
The clinic received some pushback from its home state government over its vaccine mandate. Last month, 38 Minnesota state lawmakers signed a letter to the hospital asking it to drop its rule, according to NBC News.
In the letter, the lawmakers said they had heard from “a large number of highly concerned Mayo employees” about the clinic’s vaccine policy.
“This top down, heavy-handed, all-or-none employee policy does not fit the reputation or image we know the Mayo Clinic to have,” they said.
“Your amazing employees stepped up under unimaginable pandemic conditions over the last year and a half, exposing themselves and their families to a then mostly unknown virus and working long, grueling hours to take care of sick patients,” they said. “Many of your employees were sickened by the virus at that time. They did all this willingly to serve Mayo Clinic patients and the people of Minnesota. They did so for all these months without the protection of any vaccine.”
Even though the lawmakers are not opposed to people getting vaccinations, they said, “people deserve to make this decision based on the benefits and risks for themselves and not coerced or forced into doing so by threat of losing one’s job.”
The Mayo Clinic has locations in Rochester, MN; Scottsdale and Phoenix, AZ; and Jacksonville, FL. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.
High Court to Hear Legal Challenges to Biden Administration Vaccine Policies Friday
As CBN News reported, the U.S. Supreme Court will hold a special session Friday to weigh challenges to two Biden administration policies that mandate vaccines for millions of workers – policies that affect large employers, and healthcare workers.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 2-1 last month that the vaccine or testing regime for workers at larger companies could take effect. The plan requires workers at larger companies to be vaccinated or wear face masks and get tested weekly. The requirement could affect 84 million U.S. workers.
Republican-led states, conservative organizations, and businesses had challenged the requirement after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published the rule in early November. The rule was to go into effect on Jan. 4.
The high court also will hear arguments over a rule published Nov. 5 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid that applies to a wide range of health care providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. It requires their workers to receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. It was projected to affect more than 17 million workers in about 76,000 health care facilities as well as home healthcare providers.
Decisions by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as well as a federal judge in Texas have blocked that mandate in about half of states.
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