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New York ends religious exemption for COVID vaccine as list of those mandated to get the shot grows

Using religion as a reason for not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 if the state, or your employer mandates it is not enough.

Religious exemptions have been a central component to vaccine hesitancy amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, after a recent decision by the state’s Department of Health to eliminate the religious exemption clause for health care workers looking to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine – it’s made many question where else it will disappear.

The state has set a deadline for all hospital and nursing home workers to be fully-vaccinated by September 27. Those workers will need their first dose of the vaccine by that date, according to state health officials who are still working on getting information out to effected facilities.


“Years back, when they mandated Measles vaccination, they did so in the absence of any religious exemptions,” Steven Hanks explained to RochesterFirst.com. He serves as St. Peter’s Health Partners Chief Clinical Officer. “They felt that the public health outweighed the religious rights. I don’t believe we’re going to see a huge exodus of staff and I believe that’s the case because everybody is in the same boat.”

The field of health care facilities that needed to comply with the vaccine mandate and would be included in the stripping of religious exemptions included home health agencies, long-term health care programs, and other treatment centers.

Employers across the U.S. have been implementing vaccine mandates, noting that individuals who do not get vaccinated will have to be tested weekly- or in some cases faces termination.



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