Community members and employees speaking out against updated Mayo Clinic vaccination policy

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Mayo Clinic Health System started implementing a vaccination policy mid-September, but recent changes include a loss of job for the unvaccinated.

First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff details the new mandate, and explains why some health care workers oppose it.   

Mayo Clinic Health System required all staff members to be fully vaccinated or complete a declination process by September 17th, but a new update is tightening that policy.

A recent message to staff has put new vaccination dates in place, along with new consequences for remaining unvaccinated.

“We had the option to either get the vaccine or decline it. As of last week it recently changed, stating that we had to file for a medical exemption or a religious exemption. By December 3rd, if you don’t have an exemption or are unvaccinated, you will be put on unpaid leave, then I believe January 3rd is the termination date.”

Tom Brunner says there was some indication that a stricter policy could be put in place, but it was unclear losing your job would be included.

“When we first were able to decline, the way they had worded one of their articles for staff was, there may be other measures, and it just was left as a generic, broad view of that.”

Mayo clinic says its staff vaccination rate is at 88 percent, and the health system is requiring the vaccine in consideration of the safety of patients and staff.

A statement from southwestern Wisconsin Regional Chair of Administration, Michael Morrey says in part:

“Making COVID-19 vaccination a requirment to work at Mayo Clinic will help ensure we have a healthy workforce, and that Mayo Clinic is a safe place to receive care.”

Brunner says he and other health care workers who are against the mandate are speaking out with one ultimate goal in mind.

“Ideally, it would be to allow all exemptions, we would like to be able to see everyone be able to choose on their own and not be coerced into something else that they don’t agree with.”

Mayo clinic says a review process will be available for staff to seek medical or religious exemptions to vaccination.

Staff must be vaccinated or apply for one of the exemptions by November 8th.

In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine. 

Mayo clinic’s new policy is similar to the one established by Gundersen Health System, which is requiring all employees to be vaccinated by November 1st. 

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