Scott Jensen’s unwillingness to acquire a coronavirus vaccine remains a mystery more than a year and a half after the vaccine became available.
Jensen, the expected Republican governor candidate in Minnesota, is still unvaccinated. Jensen’s denial is notable since he is a practicing physician who sees patients most days of the week, putting him in the company of around 25% of eligible Minnesotans. To safeguard vulnerable patients, the nation’s public health system has attempted to achieve universal vaccination status for medical staff, including through a government requirement aimed at physicians and nurses.
Jensen appears to have gotten around the federal vaccine mandate, and in interviews with the Pioneer Press, he admitted that the mandate may have influenced his decision to change his long-standing medical practice — relinquishing hospital admitting privileges — which allowed him to avoid the mandate while still accepting federal Medicare payments for work with his patients.
He has also resigned from a job as a professor at the University of Minnesota, where he may have been exposed to the university’s vaccination requirement, but he claims his choice was unconnected to the mandate.
Jensen has given a variety of explanations for why he hasn’t been vaccinated.
Jensen, 67, has continually regarded vaccination as unnecessary since being eligible for it, declaring himself immune after contracting COVID-19 in August 2020. The great majority of health professionals, from the CDC and WHO to the Mayo Clinic and every other hospital network in Minnesota, disagree with Jensen’s assertion that his infection may serve as a substitute for vaccination. They all urge being vaccinated and boosted even if you’ve been sick.
Jensen’s answer, however, included more than that. He bragged about donating his blood, which is plasma enhanced with antibodies and may be used to treat COVID-19 sufferers. However, since the chance of his blood being suited for that purpose has decreased, mentions of his plasma donations have switched to the past tense, and he now considers his own antibodies as protective for himself rather than life-saving for others.
Jensen said in a recent interview with the Pioneer Press that he hasn’t given plasma in 2022. He wouldn’t say when he last gave or how many times he’s given overall.