JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of Mayo Clinic employees are out of work in the new year after they refused to follow the medical center’s vaccine mandate.
In a statement to News4JAX, Mayo Clinic said nearly 99% of employees across all Mayo Clinic locations complied with Mayo’s required COVID-19 vaccination program by the Jan. 3 deadline, but about 700 people in the 73,000-person workforce were fired for noncompliance. It wasn’t immediately clear how many of those employees worked at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville or one of the other three U.S. locations.
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, Mayo Clinic said.
“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,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “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 said the percentage of employees fired is comparable to what other health care organizations have experienced in implementing similar vaccine requirement programs.
Late last year, more than 50 demonstrators stood outside of Mayo Clinic on San Pablo Road in the cold and rain to protest the medical system’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.