Mayo Clinic fires 700 employees who failed to comply with vaccine mandate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Mayo Clinic announced it is dropping hundreds of employees for not getting vaccinated.

The deadline for those employees to get a shot or get approved for a religious exemption was on Monday.

The Mayo Clinic operates major campuses in Minnesota, Arizona, and here in Jacksonville.

On Tuesday, the hospital fired hundreds of employees that wouldn’t comply with its mandatory vaccination policy.

Rawan Farah is a local Mayo Clinic patient.

She believes all hospital staff should be vaccinated.

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“Probably the most important people in the hospital should be vaccinated, nurses, staff, everyone, just because sick people coming in and that’s just putting them at a high risk,” Farah said.

But not everyone agrees.

Rick Aronow said hospitals shouldn’t be forcing the vaccine on any staff members.

“It’s totally ridiculous that these people work so hard are now being kicked to curb,” he said.

Maureen Ammar has been a nurse for 43 years and she says there’s a nationwide nursing shortage to consider.

“I don’t think they should keep them out of work. I feel very strongly because the nurses know what they’re doing. If they’re sickly then they are not going to come to work,” Ammar said.

Around 700 people were fired.

That’s only about 1% of Mayo Clinic’s total workforce out of around 73,000 employees.

Action News Jax reporter Alicia Tarancon reached out to Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville campus and it told her so far no employees have been impacted by the mandatory vaccination policy.

A spokesperson for the Mayo Clinic toldFlorida staff who are not in compliance with our vaccination program remain employed pending the outcome of litigation related to the centers for Medicare & Medicaid services requirements.”

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The Mayo Clinic said while it’s sad to lose valuable employees but it’s essential to keep patients, the workforce, visitors, and the communities safe.

For Mayo Clinic patients like Farah, a vaccination policy in place gives her a peace a mind.

“Yeah definitely, and I’ve always trusted my doctors there and yeah it makes me, like really appreciate the hospital and doctors that I see there now,” Farah said.

Action News Jax did reach out to other local hospitals regarding their vaccination policies.

Both the federal government and the state of Florida remain at odds regarding enforcing COVID-19 vaccines.

Several cases are still working their way through our court system.

UF Health said no one has been fired. Its current policy is you must either be fully vaccinated and show proof or you must wear an N-95 mask. Those who are vaccinated are still required to wear a mask, but it doesn’t have to be N-95.

Ascension St. Vincent’s is following state laws banning vaccine mandates. It even let previously suspended employees come back to work.

Flagler Health+ said it has not implemented a vaccine mandate for fear of losing essential workers in an already tight labor market, but should the mandate hold, it is prepared to comply with the federal vaccine mandate allowing for appropriate exemptions.

Read Mayo Clinic’s full statement below:

“Mayo Clinic supports a required COVID-19 vaccination program for all staff including at its Florida campus to advance the primary value of Mayo Clinic – the needs of the patient come first. Florida staff who are not in compliance with our vaccination program remain employed pending the outcome of litigation related to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requirements.

Nearly 99% of employees across all Mayo Clinic locations complied with Mayo’s required COVID-19 vaccination program by the Jan. 3 deadline. Compliance with the program required receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and not being overdue for a second dose, for Moderna and Pfizer. Only medical or religious exemptions were allowed, and the majority of medical and religious exemption requests were approved. Approximately 1% of Mayo Clinic staff across all locations will be released from employment as a result of the required vaccination program, which is comparable to what other health care organizations have experienced in implementing similar vaccine requirement programs. The majority of medical or religious exemption requests were granted.

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. 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.

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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.

Mayo Clinic is deeply grateful to our staff who are working tirelessly and showing tremendous dedication to delivering the highest level of care to our patients in extremely challenging circumstances. With the rising wave of infections from the omicron variant, Mayo Clinic also urges all who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible. And if you are eligible for a booster, Mayo Clinic urges you to get a booster as soon as possible to help protect your health and the health of everyone around you.”