Minnesota health systems call lawsuits over COVID-19 vaccine mandates 'baseless'

Several Minnesota health systems are asking a federal judge to throw out a legal challenge to its COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

In new filings on Friday, the health systems are calling allegations of discrimination "baseless," saying they have granted dozens of religious and medical exemptions for the mandate, without firing anyone.

Nearly 200 Minnesota health care workers filed the federal lawsuit under fake names last week.

Friday, the health systems said those workers shouldn't get to remain anonymous as the case moves ahead. Some of the systems provided specific numbers.

Mayo Clinic said 8,375 of its 65,000 workers remain unvaccinated. Of that unvaccinated group, about 500 have refused to take required education.

U of M physicians says it has granted 140 exemptions and denied no one. Gillette Children's says it has approved all but one exemption.

Courts have generally sided with private employer vaccine requirements as a condition of employment.

"The public controversy about vaccines among small segments of the general public is not grounds to conclude that one’s vaccine status is a matter of utmost intimacy," said an attorney representing Regions, Methodist, Lakeview, and Group Health Inc.

The filings came in ahead of a deadline Friday afternoon. A hearing is scheduled in federal court for next Tuesday.