ROCHESTER, Minn. - As those against vaccine mandates protest at Mayo Clinic on Monday, the healthcare giant has released a statement on why it's important the mandate is in place.
"Making COVID-19 vaccination a requirement to work at Mayo Clinic will help ensure we have a healthy workforce and that Mayo Clinic is a safe place to receive care — just as our patients expect," Mayo said in a statement.
The Mayo Clinic enterprise staff vaccination rate for COVID-19 is at 88%.
"In consideration of the safety of our patients, staff, visitors and communities, Mayo Clinic is transitioning to the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program, with vaccination required to continue to work at Mayo Clinic. A review process will be available for staff to seek medical or religious exemptions to vaccination. Staff may participate in social media and advocacy on their own behalf, in accordance with applicable Mayo Clinic policies," the statement said.
A few hundred protesters gathered at Peace Plaza and marched around the Gonda building, yelling chants such as "shame on Mayo" and "we will not comply." The Mayo workers rallying Monday believe they should be allowed religious or medical exemption from the hospital's COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
"We've been on the frontlines working as nurses this whole time and for them to say, you have to get a vaccine or you're terminated, it's just really going against our American freedom," says Treasure Waccholz, who tells KIMT she's been a nurse at Mayo Clinic for 20 years.
"I'm here for freedom of choice. I don't think I should have to choose between keeping my job and getting a vaccine that I don't agree with. I think everyone has the right to choose," said another healthcare worker who did not want to share her identity, but says she's been employed by Mayo for 17 years.
Although several hundred people were in attendance, not all protesters are employed by Mayo. Some local people came to show their support and some people who are a part of the Stop the Mandate MN group came to Rochester from out of town. They travel around the state to lead rallies.
"It's going to take every single one of us to stand against these psychopathic globalists," shouted Stop the Mandate MN co-founder Mark Bishofsky. He and co-founder Mike Toombs encouraged the crowd to continue to refuse the shots and spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, Covid data reporting, and the promotion of potentially dangerous false treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which are not shown to be effective against COVID-19 according to the CDC and FDA.