The Mayo Clinic has fired 700 workers who failed to get the vaccine or provide religious exemption

Business Insider US
Eric Miller/Reuters
Eric Miller/Reuters
  • The Mayo Clinic has fired roughly 700 employees who did not comply with its vaccine policy.
  • Staff had until January 3 to get the first dose or provide a religious exemption, and 99% did.
  • Republican state lawmakers criticised the policy, calling it "top down" and "heavy-handed."
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Hundreds of Mayo Clinic employees were fired this week for failing to comply with the hospital's vaccine policy.

The hospital said that 99% of its workforce had provided documentation of receiving either the Covid-19 vaccine or a religious exemption before the January 3 deadline on Monday. The remaining 1% did not.

With a headcount of approximately 73,000 workers, that amounts to about 700 who were terminated under the policy. The clinic did not specify how many workers were granted exemptions but told NBC that the "majority" of requests were approved.

"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 a statement to NBC. Insider has approached the company to confirm the statement. 

A majority of religious exemption requests were granted, the clinic said, and fired employees may apply for open jobs if they choose to comply with the mandate. The clinic did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Republican lawmakers in Minnesota criticised the Rochester, Minnesota-based hospital in a letter that said, "this top down, heavy-handed, all-or-none employee policy does not fit the reputation or image we know the Mayo Clinic to have."

"Though 100 percent employee vaccination may be ideal according to Mayo guidelines, we do not believe it is ethical, nor is it realistic," the letter added, citing a healthcare worker shortage in the state, especially in rural areas served by the clinic. 

The letter wasn't enough for the hospital to change its course. 

"Based on science and data, it's clear that vaccination keeps people out of the hospital and saves lives," the clinic's statement said. "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."

Leaders from the Mayo Clinic previously joined those from eight other Minnesota hospitals in taking out a newspaper ad saying they were "overwhelmed" by the state's high number of cases.

"Care in our hospitals is safe but our ability to provide it is threatened," the ad said.

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