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COVID-19 vaccine required for Mayo employees, but still voluntary at Gundersen

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Mayo Clinic Health System will require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 while it remains voluntary for employees at Gundersen Health System.

“Mayo is really doing this to assure that all patients are safe," Mayo Clinic Health System Nurse Administrator Kim Noth said.

Noth said the biggest challenge is mis-information.

"Having a source of truth," she said. "Whether it’s someone's own primary care provider or someone that’s very knowledgeable in vaccinations will help I think alleviate some of the fears and unknowns that people might have.”

Gundersen Health System Vaccine Expert Dr. Raj Naik said hospital employees are not immune to vaccine hesitancy.

“Just because you work in a health care setting doesn't mean that you are not going to be subject to some of this bad information that’s out there," Dr. Naik said

He also shared that Gundersen Health System employees are getting vaccinated at a decent rate.

“83% is pretty good compared to most health care organizations," Dr. Naik said. "But one of the key things that we’re doing is trying to work with the remaining eligible health care staff who are not yet vaccinated to try to get them vaccinated as well so they can set a good example.”

Mayo Clinic employees who continue to refuse inoculation will need to wear a mask and take a class.

“Either get vaccinated or we ask those who are reluctant to do so to attend several education sessions," Noth said. "And then they’re asked to sign a declination paper stating that they’re not going to get it. So that’s what we’re moving to now.”

Both systems cited that allergy concerns and religious reasons prevent employees from receiving the vaccines.

According to Mayo Clinic's vaccine tracker, 55.4% of Wisconsin adults ages 16-64 are fully vaccinated.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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