Lawmakers push Mayo Clinic to end vaccine mandate

By January 3, employees must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or risk being terminated. Now lawmakers are asking the Clinic to drop the mandate.
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 7:22 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Mayo Clinic’s vaccine mandate has sparked controversy among its employees. By January third, employees must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or risk being terminated. With 93 percent of its staff vaccinated, there are still about 5,000 employees who refuse to get the vaccine.

Now lawmakers are stepping in and asking the Clinic to drop the mandate and let its employees opt out of getting the COVID vaccine.

“It moved into this letter that my colleagues and I have sent, because of that great concern, and I feel there needs to be a more balanced approach to it,” Rep. Peggy Bennett said.

Bennett along with 37 other Republican Minnesota House members signed a letter addressed to the president of Mayo Clinic listing several reasons they think he needs to nix the mandate.

“Just asking Mayo to take a look at this again and come up with a policy that they don’t have to fire employees over, because these people don’t want to leave and we can’t afford to lose them. Even just losing one doctor or nurse in rural areas can be huge,” Bennett said.

Bennet also pointed out in the letter after a federal judge halted President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, a number of large hospitals in the U.S. have dropped their vaccine mandates.

“In light of that the Biden Administration has backed off on their mandates, they’re not going to lose the Medicare and Medicaid funding. Let’s go back to your more reasonable policy,” Bennett said.

Meanwhile, DFL Representative Tina Liebling who chairs the state health finance and policy committee supports Mayo’s vaccine mandate.

“This is Mayo’s business: science and healthcare. These are the world’s experts in science and healthcare. They know that this vaccine is safe and effective,” Liebling said.

She then pointed that many immunocompromised individuals come to the Mayo Clinic.

“Mayo Clinic gets people from all over the world. It gets people who are immunocompromised all the time. It attracts people from all over the world who come here for the best possible healthcare,” Liebling said.

“They’re our heroes, and now we thank them by turning around and saying well now you have to get vaccinated, and if you don’t agree with this or if you have health issues... it’s just a one size fits all, and we’ll fire you if you don’t do this. I just think that’s a slap in the face to those people,” Bennett said.

“What about the patients? That’s the problem here. Mayo Clinic has the right to make the decision based on the needs of its patients because the needs of the patients come first,” Liebling said.

We reached out to Mayo Clinic for a statement and have yet to hear back.

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