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Thursday, Sep 23, 2021

More people in the U.S. cite religious reasons for not getting vaccinated

More people in the U.S. cite religious reasons for not getting vaccinated

About 3,000 Los Angeles Police Department employees are claiming religious objections to try to get rid of the mandatory vaccine.
As the requirement for vaccines against COVID-19 in the United States grows, the number of people claiming religious reasons to exempt themselves from the measure is also increasing.

Such religious objections were previously used only occasionally to obtain a dispensation of several mandatory vaccines. However, they are becoming an increasingly used legal nook to avoid the application of the COVID vaccine.

About 3,000 Los Angeles Police Department employees are claiming religious objections to try to get rid of the mandatory vaccine. In Washington state, hundreds of state workers are seeking similar exemptions. An Arkansas hospital has been overwhelmed by so many such requests from its employees that it appears to have decided not to accept them.

The phenomenon is likely to grow after President Joe Biden pushed for a new vaccination mandate that covers more than 100 million Americans, including employees in the executive branch and workers in companies with more than 100 people on the payroll.

The federal government recognizes that a small minority of Americans will use the exemptions for religious reasons and that some will try to abuse them. However, he believes that even improvements in vaccination levels, however insignificant, will save lives.

It is not yet clear how many federal employees have applied for a religious exemption. The Labor Department has said it can reject it if it creates an undue burden.

At the state level, mask and vaccine requirements vary, but most offer exemptions for certain medical conditions or religious or philosophical objections. The use of such exemptions, particularly by parents on behalf of their children in school, has been on the rise over the past decade.

The remedy was enshrined in the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says employers must make reasonable accommodations for those employees who object to certain job requirements because of "sincere" religious beliefs.

SOURCE: Associated Press
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