As Omicron surges among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, the prestigious Mayo Clinic has taken the extreme step of firing 700 unvaccinated employees. Even though vaccines haven't been proven to stop the spread of Omicron, the targeting of unvaccinated employees continues.
NBC News reports the nonprofit clinic's staff had been given until Monday to get their first dose of a vaccine or obtain a medical or religious exemption to the rule. They were also expected not to wait before receiving a second shot.
Hundreds of employees failed to meet those requirements and were let go, the Mayo Clinic said in a statement shared with NBC on Wednesday.
The medical center declined to provide vaccination rates at individual clinics but said "nearly 99 percent" of all of its locations had complied.
The clinic said approximately 1 percent of its staff, or around 700 people, would be "released from employment."
Workers Let Go at Clinics in Arizona and Minnesota Locations
The Florida Times-Union reports the unvaccinated employees who were fired—at Mayo's Arizona and Minnesota locations—make up about 1 percent of its total workforce of about 73,000.
The newspaper also reported none of the employees at the Mayo's Jacksonville, FL, location had been let go as of Wednesday.
"Only medical or religious exemptions were allowed and the majority of medical and religious exemption requests were approved," according to the clinic's statement. "The required vaccination program... is comparable to what other health care organizations have experienced in implementing similar vaccine requirement programs.
"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," the clinic said.
However, the medical center also added those who were let go could apply for future jobs at the clinic if they got their shots.
"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," it said.
Fox News reports the Rochester, Minnesota-based medical center fired employees over its vaccine mandate less than a month after the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference to plead with various hospital CEOs in the state to address a staffing and retention crisis.
"To our hospital CEOs and elected officials, please hear us: Nurses need more than words, we need action to address the crisis of staffing and retention in Minnesota hospitals," said Mary C. Turner, union president, and a COVID-19 intensive care unit nurse.
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