COVID Vaccines

Covid-19 Requirements and Religious Exemption

According to Associated Press report, most people who are anti-vaccine are using religious objections to get exempted from various mandated required vaccines. As the Covid-19 vaccine mandates by large companies and federal government are rising, so as the religious exemptions.

The religious exemption believe “comes from the idea that the vaccines contain aborted fetal cells, or were tested on aborted fetal cells, or some other notion about aborted fetal cells that the vaccine refuser says conflicts with their beliefs.”

Katie Spalding in IFLScience

Religious objections, once used sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot.

Source: Associated Press

Federal health officials reportedly believe that because vast majority of people have already taken at least one-dose of vaccine, a small minority of Americans will use — and some may seek to exploit — religious exemptions, but they think that even marginal improvements in vaccination rates will save lives.

Jackson Lahmeyer, a pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is reportedly offering a “religious exemption” form on his church’s website told they are not antivaxxers but pro-freedom.

“We’re not anti-vaxxers. We’re just pro-freedom. A lot of these people who have signed … have already taken the vaccine. They just don’t think it’s right that somebody else should be forced or lose their job.”

According to the AP Report, obtaining a ‘religious exemption‘ is not as simple as producing a signed form and some employers are reportedly taking a hard line. “Some now require an actual signed affidavit from a religious leader, instead of an online form. California got rid of nonmedical exemptions in 2015.”

Hospital Calls Antivaxxers’ Bluff

According a report, one hospital in Arkansas is calling antivaxxers’ bluff by granting Religious Exemption only if employees swear off Tylenol.

The number of religious exemption requests was “significantly disproportionate to what we’ve seen with the influenza vaccine. Thus, we provided a religious attestation form for those individuals requesting a religious exemption.”

Matt Troup, president and CEO of Arkansas’s Conway Regional Health System to Becker’s Hospital Review (source: IFLScience)

The Conway hospital’s exemption form reportedly “requires employees who refuse the vaccine to swear off many everyday medications as well, including such medical mainstays as Benadryl, Sudafed, Tums, and Tylenol”.

An infectious disease expert and practicing Catholic Dr James Lawler in an explainer wrote:

“It is true that decades ago, scientists decided to use fetal tissue to start the cell lines we use to test drugs today. However, the description of ongoing modern fetal tissue harvesting to create vaccines is dishonest sensationalism.”

“As a practicing Catholic, I think the moral balance of indirectly benefitting from an abortion that occurred 50 years ago in order to take a vaccine that will prevent further death in the community is a no-brainer. We need to focus on saving lives right now. We need to care for our neighbors.”

According to Conway Regional Health President and CEO Matt Troup the exemption form asks people to sign it and attest that “my sincerely held religious belief is consistent and true and I do not use or will not use” any of the listed medications.

“Staff who are sincere … should have no hesitancy with agreeing to the list of medicines listed.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of September 18, 9 a.m.) 466,569,635 doses have been distributed and 384,911,290 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of September 15) a total of 6,329,527 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of September 17) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 681,613 (out of 12,005,921 tested) with 7,983 deaths.