Mayo Responds to Vaccine Exemptions

On Dec. 3, the Mayo Clinic responded to our letter asking why religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate were being denied.

See the letter here.

December 3, 2022

Rep. Steve Drazkowski
State Representative, District 21B State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St. Paul, MN 55155

Dear Reps. Drazkowski, Munson, Bahr, and Miller:

On Nov. 29, 2021, Mayo Clinic received the letter you mailed citing concerns regarding vaccine requirements and corresponding exemptions. Please know we have given considerable attention to this issue. While only a small number of Mayo Clinic employees remain unvaccinated, we understand this is a personal decision for many.

Mayo Clinic supports and recommends COVID-19 vaccines because they are safe and effective. COVID-19 remains a public health threat. Most of the patients dying from COVID-19, and the vast majority of patients being treated for COVID-19 in ICUs around the country, are unvaccinated. Vaccination is an essential tool to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death while also preventing continued mutations and variants that emerge.

In keeping with our approach to care, science continues to be the basis for Mayo Clinic’s approach to vaccination. In July 2021, we joined dozens of health care systems around the country to require that staff be fully vaccinated or complete a declination process. In October, we transitioned to a full requirement that staff become vaccinated or obtain a medical or religious exemption, reflecting continued and expanded scientific confirmation of the safety, efficacy, and importance of vaccination in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition coincided with the federal government’s intent to issue regulations under which providers must require staff vaccination, absent a qualifying exemption, as a condition of the provider’s continued participation in Medicare or Medicaid.

In compliance with established laws, Mayo Clinic offered employees the opportunity to seek religious and medical exemptions from its vaccine requirement. Exemptions processes are ongoing, and Mayo has already granted a majority of the exemptions sought by staff in compliance with relevant medical and legal standards.

The requirement that our staff be vaccinated or seek a qualifying exemption has always been primarily about our mission to put the patient's interest first. Mayo Clinic is a global destination for a significant number of transplant and cancer treatment patients and, as a world leader in complex and serious care, provides support to highly vulnerable and immunocompromised patients. These patients deserve the safety of having vaccinated staff to care for them.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide clarification regarding this issue. Sincerely,

Gianrico Farrugia, MD President and CEO