Mayo Clinic extends time for employees to meet vaccine mandate

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(ABC 6 News) – Mayo Clinic is giving extended time for employees to meet its vaccine mandate.

Mayo Clinic says it will ‘transition from an unpaid leave beginning Dec. 3 to a final written warning to avoid placing additional stress on vaccinated staff and potentially having to revoke previously approved paid time off in December.’

Now all unvaccinated employees will be required to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the Jan. 3 deadline or risk being terminated.

"Have you had your measles vaccine? They don’t ask that. It’s not a condition of employment," Tammy Jobes, a previous Mayo Clinic employee, said. "They’re risking losing a lot of trained, professional, well-educated, excellent staff and in the end, that’s also going to hurt their patients because they’re going to lose out on all of those wonderful people that treat their patients day in and day out."

Jobes left Mayo Clinic in 2019 before COVID-19 and the vaccine mandate was put in place.

"Their employees are as much their patients as they are staff members. And they would never make a patient make a choice that they weren’t comfortable with at the risk of ‘we’re not going to treat you if you don’t do this,’" Jobes said.

Jobes works for another healthcare company now but she says if she still worked at Mayo, she would be very much resistant to the mandate.

"I don’t believe that an employer has the right to ask your vaccine status. There’s not another healthcare choice that we make that our employment is dependent on that choice," she said.

Jobes along with others think it is a personal choice and it should be up to the individual and not their employer.

Minnesota State Rep. Steve Drazkowski and three other Representatives wrote up a letter to CEO and President of Mayo Clinic, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia last week asking questions like ‘What qualifies a person for a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate?’

"So Mayo is forcing its employees to trade a jab for their job," Rep. Drazkowski said.

Drazkowski spoke on behalf of one of his constituents saying "I have devoted the last five-plus years to Mayo Clinic and now feel ostracized for my religious beliefs."

One Mayo Clinic employee who did not want their name used said that as employees, they agree to stay up-to-date on vaccines when they are hired. They added, "When you work in healthcare, you’re not only taking care of yourself, there are others we have to worry about too."

Mayo Clinic said "While Mayo Clinic does not want to lose any of its valued staff, Mayo remains firmly committed to requiring vaccination for staff to help ensure the safety of our patients, staff, visitors and communities."