Mayo Clinic fires 700 unvaxxed staff as Biden vows to deploy 1,000 troops to ‘Covid-burdened hospitals’

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The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota fired almost 700 workers on Monday for refusing to get vaccinated just weeks after nurses pleaded with hospital CEOs in the state to address a staffing “crisis” and the Biden administration announced the deployment of military staff to “COVID-burdened hospitals.”

Monday was the deadline for employees to get their first COVID-19 shot or obtain an exemption for medical or religious reasons, according to the StarTribune. The clinic asserts it granted the majority of exemption requests.

Meanwhile, Roll Call is reporting that the Biden administration has ordered Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to deploy 1,000 military medical personnel including military doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other medical personnel to hospitals that claim to be inundated with COVID patients in January and February due to the reportedly mild Omicron variant.

The government will also allegedly purchase 500 million at-home tests that Americans can order online for free with delivery beginning in January, according to senior administration officials.

The Mayo Clinic announced the mandate last year, proclaiming it was necessary for a safe environment where patients from all over the world are treated.

“While final numbers are still not available, nearly 99% of staff across all Mayo Clinic locations have complied with the required vaccination program, meaning they have been vaccinated or have received medical or religious exemptions,” the clinic declared in a statement.

“This means that approximately 1% of staff across all locations will be released from employment as a result of the required vaccination program. This is comparable to what other health care organizations have experienced in implementing similar vaccine requirement programs,” the statement added.

Minneapolis-based Allina Health reported in December that it would fire 53 people for non-compliance with its vaccine mandate.

Sanford Health, which runs hospitals and clinics across the Dakotas and greater Minnesota, fired just under one percent of its thousands of employees in December for not getting vaccinated.

The issue is about to wind up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court where arguments will be heard over Biden’s federal vaccine mandates that apply to both healthcare facilities and companies with more than 100 employees. Because of the litigation, many employers have put the mandate on hold. But not the Mayo Clinic.

The clinic is Minnesota’s largest employer. It also operates clinics and hospitals in Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, and Iowa.

Employees were required to have at least one dose of the vaccine by Jan. 3 and not be overdue for a second shot if that was part of their regimen. Staff continued to get shots through Monday in order to comply with the mandate and hold onto their jobs.

“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 in the statement. “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.”

“Based on science and data, it’s clear that vaccination keeps people out of the hospital and saves lives. That’s true for everyone in our communities — and it’s especially true for the many patients with serious or complex diseases who seek care at Mayo Clinic each day,” the statement concluded.

The Mayo Clinic received a letter from 38 lawmakers in December asking it to nix the rule.

“It is with great consternation that we now write this letter out of concern for the Mayo Clinic’s current employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy. We started hearing from a large number of highly concerned Mayo employees a number of weeks ago concerning this shift in internal policy. We also heard of the onerous and daunting electronic religious exemption application process that employees felt set them up for failure and allowed for little personalization. Concern and communication from those employees only grew as medical and religious exemptions for many were denied,” the letter alleged.

“This top down, heavy-handed, all-or-none employee policy does not fit the reputation or image we know the Mayo Clinic to have. Religious exemptions seem to be difficult to obtain and inconsistent. There are examples of one spouse working at Mayo receiving the religious exemption and the other spouse did not. No one will share with employees why they were denied. This is all highly disheartening, especially considering that Mayo is an institution that was founded upon religious principles and by Franciscan Sisters with sincerely held religious beliefs,” the lawmakers stated.

Just before Christmas, nurses represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference asking hospital CEOs in the state to address a staffing and retention crisis, according to Fox News.

“To our patients, I want to say this: Nurses will be here when you need us,” Mary C. Turner, who is the union president and a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse, said during the Dec. 20 press conference. “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.”

Losing 700 more workers will add to the staffing shortage and has the potential to put lives at risk.

New York and other states have called in the National Guard to help bolster hospital staff.

In New York, tens of thousands of healthcare workers were fired last year for not complying with vaccine mandates.


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