The clinic first announced its plan to mandate vaccines for its staff in July 2021, before enforcing a January 3 deadline to comply. The clinic said in a statement that while they are "saddened" to lose valuable employees, they need to take all steps necessary to keep patients, workforce, visitors and communities safe.
In mid-December, the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference to call on hospital CEOs to address the staffing concerns. Mary Turner, the union president and a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse, said: "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."
Mayo Clinic stated that they are not closing the doors on their employees. The clinic stated that those who have been released from their employment can apply for future job openings, given that they are already vaccinated.
In the same statement, the clinic noted that nearly 99 percent of staff across all locations have complied with their required vaccination program, so they have been vaccinated or received medical or religious exemptions.
Mayo Clinic went on to state that vaccination keeps people out of the hospital "based on science and data." However, they did not add that studies and data suggest that the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus can easily infect fully vaccinated individuals.
President Joe Biden announced several months ago that health care facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding would have to impose vaccine mandates for all their employees or risk losing federal funding, which could have played a role in the Mayo Clinic's own mandate.
About a week ago, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) reversed its policy and announced that it would begin enforcing the vaccine mandate in about half the U.S. states, including Minnesota. (Related: NY healthcare system fires 1,400 unvaccinated workers, many of whom have natural immunity against COVID.)
The agency said that it modified the compliance dates for its mandates, so facilities that apply have to comply with the mandate's first phase: that all health care staff need to have obtained the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by January 27, 2022, or 30 days following the issuance of the CMS memorandum.
Mayo Clinic faced backlash over its policy as 38 lawmakers signed a letter to the hospital to reconsider its rule. The letter, started by a Republican member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Peggy Bennett, stated that they heard from a large number of concerned Mayo employees who raised their concerns over the policy.
In the letter, the lawmakers noted that many of the employees working for Mayo have been affected by the virus, but remained at work to serve its patients and the people of Minnesota. "They did so for all these months without the protection of any vaccine."
The lawmakers said they believe that people deserve to make their own decisions based on the benefits and risks for themselves, without needing to be coerced or forced into doing so by the threat of losing their jobs.
When asked to respond to the letter, the Mayo Clinic referred to its initial statement where they said that their decision is "based on science and data, [where] it’s clear that vaccination keeps people out of the hospital and saves lives."
Watch the video below to learn more about how hospitals are handling staff shortages during the pandemic.
This video is from the COVID Times channel on Brighteon.com.
Learn more about hospital mandates, staff shortages and government handling of COVID-19 at Pandemic.news.