HealthPartners told clinicians not to grant vaccine exemptions, nurse says

"We recommend against clinicians providing medical exemptions," says an internal HealthPartners memo publicized by a Regions Hospital nurse.

St. Paul's Regions Hospital, a 149-year-old facility that is part of the HealthPartners network. (Wikimedia Commons)

A Minnesota-based health care network advised clinicians against providing vaccine exemptions, including to pregnant women, according to a nurse in the system.

HealthPartners is a health care system and insurance provider based in Bloomington that services about 1.2 million patients annually, includes over 90 hospitals and clinics, has 26,000 employees and operates in six states. In August, HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh apparently sent a “guidance” email recommending that clinicians in the system not provide exemptions from the coronavirus vaccine to patients, specifically pregnant women.

This memo was made public by a nurse who works at St. Paul’s Regions Hospital, a 149-year-old facility that is part of the HealthPartners network.

“We recommend against clinicians providing medical exemptions (including pregnancy) unless the patient has a documented allergy to a vaccine ingredient (polyethylene glycol),” the memo reads. “In that case, we recommend that before providing an exemption letter, clinicians should work with their patients to determine if another vaccine with different ingredients would be more suitable.”

The nurse who publicized this email, identified only as Andi, was seen presenting the memo at a recent rally, per The Minnesota Sun. A video of the nurse discussing the memo was published by a group called Mask Off MN.

Andi also noted that she thinks an insurance company telling health care workers how to best tend to their patients presents ethical issues. HealthPartners should not be “dictating to my doctor how they can and cannot treat me,” she said.

Meanwhile, HealthPartners has mandated that all its employees receive the COVID-19 vaccination, along with other major Minnesota hospitals like Mayo Clinic.

The CDC recommends that all pregnant and breastfeeding women get the coronavirus shot. However, some notable detractors question this stance.

Michael Yeadon is a former vice president of Pfizer, one of the companies responsible for making a COVID vaccination. Yeadon says it’s atypical to administer relatively untested medical interventions to pregnant women.

“Our government is urging pregnant women, and women of childbearing age, to get vaccinated. And they’re telling them they’re safe,” he says, per Christian Post. “That’s a lie because those studies have simply not been done.”

“We never, ever give experimental medicines to pregnant women,” Yeadon, who holds a Ph.D. and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 32 years, says.

Jennifer Margulis, another Ph.D. holder who wrote a book on childhood development, agrees with Yeadon. “We have no long-term studies showing it’s safe [for pregnant women],” Margulis said. She also highlighted how other drugs given to pregnant women without proper testing have had disastrous effects, despite scientific consensus.

“We made this mistake with diethylstilbestrol — a synthetic estrogen thought to be safe during pregnancy that was later found to cause aggressive (and sometimes lethal) cancer in the genitals of young teenagers whose moms had been prescribed it,” she explains.