ROCHESTER -- Mayo Clinic administrative assistant Kalley Newkirk opposes the mandate for all non-exempt employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations to the point that she resigned from her position and described the clinic’s policy as “communist” in an interview on an online conservative talk show.
Newkirk, a 25-year-old pregnant woman who has worked at Mayo Clinic for four years, believes one shot of the Pfzier vaccine in January caused her to not be able to sleep or eat for days and led her to be hospitalized in a locked mood disorder ward in the Generose Building for 10 days. One month after her discharge from the hospital, she had a miscarriage, followed by a second miscarriage a month later.
Her doctors and medical team said there was no medical connection between the vaccine and her disorders or miscarriages, and at least three medical studies seeking a correlation between the vaccines and miscarriages have not established any connection. Newkirk's care team strongly urged her to get the second Pfizer shot, but she fervently believes the vaccine was the source of her problems as she is very sensitive to medicine.
Acknowledging that she has no medical education, Newkirk said her opinion was “based on how I had been in the period from when I left the hospital to when those events (miscarriages) happened… it just all correlated so much. I think you'd have to be there in person to further understand.”
She also cites the “research” of Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who speaks out against the COVID-19 vaccines.
Her unsubstantiated belief that the vaccine caused her health problems caused her distress, especially when Mayo Clinic sent out a message earlier this month that non-exempt employees would be terminated in January if they were not vaccinated.
“I was devastated. I sobbed pretty much the rest of the day,” Newkirk said of getting the email on Oct. 13 about the vaccine requirement. “I knew that I needed to think about what I was doing with my career choices and what the next steps of my life were going to be, because of the baby on the way.”
She had an interview for a promotion at Mayo Clinic scheduled, but she canceled it because of the vaccination rule.
A few days after she sent her resignation letter, Newkirk sent a longer letter to Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia and other Mayo Clinic leaders to tell them of her decision.
“I am NOT an anti-vaxxer. I have every other vaccine under the sun! I believe in science, I believe in research, but what I don’t believe in: politics getting involved in personal health choices,” she wrote. “This institution is falling victim to communism. The Mayo brothers believed that politics was to STAY OUT of Mayo Clinic; we were always told to remain neutral. Now, we are folding to communist executive orders and not standing up with our own voice and research.”
She cited the Mayo Clinic’s references to a federal vaccine mandate from the Biden administration as evidence that the clinic’s decision to have employees get the shot is political versus medical.
In addition to supporting the “communist” political agenda, Newkirk also said that Mayo Clinic’s true reason to back this is financial.
“They do get money from the government for Medicare and Medicaid. And that I'm sure that is the reason that they did this mandate, honestly. That's what I think… I do believe this whole thing is about money,” she said.
In a statement Monday, Mayo said "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. 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."
Newkirk posted her letter on her Facebook page and to a private online Mayo Clinic employee group of about 1,100 people who oppose the vaccine rule. The group enthusiastically supported her statements.
Some of them passed her letter on to online talk show host Stew Peters. Peters, who calls himself "The Bullhorn of the People," asked Newkirk to be on his program.
Peters, who claims that the FDA has not approved any COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., introduced the interview by commenting on statements Mayo Clinic doctors have made on social media criticizing people who oppose vaccinations. He said Mayo Clinic has "annihilated their credibility in their response to this pandemic."
“Not everyone at Mayo Clinic is bad, " he said introducing Newkirk as a brave woman opposing the clinic's mandate.
Newkirk, wearing her Mayo Clinic employee badge, told Peters her story. The interview was posted on Oct. 22. The next day, Newkirk said she was placed on administrative leave by Mayo Clinic.
On Monday, Mayo said she was still employed there.
After writing the letter, appearing in the Peters’ show, what does Newkirk hope Mayo Clinic will do?
She believes Mayo Clinic has the power to stand up to the federal government and defy any vaccine orders, if the leadership would “speak up” and support its employees who don’t want to be vaccinated.