ST. PAUL – A group of 38 Republican lawmakers in Minnesota this week highlighted a letter they sent to the chief of the Mayo Clinic, urging the health care system to drop its mandate to vaccinate employees following other groups to across the country abandoning their demands.
On Monday, December 13, lawmakers issued a press release highlighting the correspondence and said Mayo should drop the employee vaccination requirement after federal courts suspended a federal mandate. The federal rule that was due to go into effect this month said establishments could lose Medicare and Medicaid dollars if their workers were not immune to the disease.
“This top-down, bossy, all-or-nothing employee policy does not match the reputation or image we know of The Mayo Clinic,” wrote State Representative Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea , in the letter dated December 8. “Mayo now has the opportunity to take the lead on this issue by reverting to its original reasonable vaccine policy which allows for medical, religious and conscientious withdrawals for its employees.”
Bennett wrote that the group did not oppose COVID-19 vaccinations but believed some had valid concerns about the vaccinations. And she said the tenure could exacerbate staffing shortages at health care facilities in Minnesota.
A Mayo Clinic official told a Minnesota Senate committee last week that health system-level vaccine requirements had not resulted in any resignations there. He said many other staff issues, like burnout, had become more common amid the pandemic.
The pressure for Mayo to stop enforcing the warrant comes as Minnesota has reported a continued increase in hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state. On Wednesday, December 15, health officials urged Minnesotans to take precautions like getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing masks in public places and avoiding large social gatherings to avoid contracting COVID-19.
“Our patients with and without COVID suffer and die from lack of access to hospitals,” said Dr Alice Mann. “Part of our training as family physicians is helping patients avoid disease through preventative care. The overwhelming reality is that the vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients could have been prevented with vaccination. “
Democrats said the GOP lawmakers involved “were working to disrupt vaccination efforts” with their comments.
“Their attack on the Mayo Clinic is particularly worrying,” Representative Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester said in a press release on Wednesday. “It is high time that Republicans gave up extremism and help fight this threat to our public health.”
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