PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — One of the most prestigious hospitals in the country is firing its employees if they are not vaccinated. The Mayo Clinic gave its employees until Monday to comply with its mandate and now some workers are out of a job.
Kaitlin Elcock has been a nurse for roughly three years and has been in the medical field for six years. On Monday, she was fired because she wasn't vaccinated.
"On Monday, Jan. 3, I worked my shift and was terminated after that, which was so surreal," Elcock said.
Mayo Clinic said that employees were required to comply with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program by the Jan. 3 deadline.
Elcock was one of roughly 700 Mayo Clinic workers fired for failing to comply with the company's vaccine mandate. "I worked really hard to get to where I was," Elcock said.
In July, the hospital announced the mandate. Since then, workers have been able to apply for religious or medical exemptions. Elcock said she did apply but was ultimately denied. "It is a personal decision and what's best for us," Elcock said.
The Mayo Clinic says the roughly 700 workers let go make up 1% of its staff. "It was really weird saying goodbye to my patients and knowing I wasn't going to come back," Elcock said.
Elcock said throughout the pandemic, she has been working in a COVID-19 unit at the Mayo Clinic. "This past Christmas, I worked, so I missed my son's first Christmas. To then be terminated was really upsetting," Elcock said.
The hospital said the mandate is crucial to keeping everyone safe. "The whole process just doesn't seem fair," Elcock said.
In Elcock's eyes, she hopes this doesn't keep her from her passion. "I joined nursing because I genuinely love caring for people," she said.
The Mayo Clinic sent the following statement to Arizona's Family on the firings.
"Because employees are making a new decision to become vaccinated this week, we don’t have a final answer to your question. Overall, we don’t plan to break the numbers down for each of our sites. While it’s clear we don’t want to lose a single team member, we anticipate the number in Arizona not in compliance with our vaccine policy will be less than 1 percent of employees."