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The COVID-19 vaccine mandate goes into effect; religious exemptions are still being questioned

A third booster shot has been approved for all healthcare workers, but the mandate for getting the first dose is Monday, and many healthcare workers haven’t gotten it.

Attorney at Leeds Brown Law, Rick Ostrove, says it’s up to the employer to handle an employee’s refusal, but the state will take action against the employer if it isn’t handled.

Governor Kathy Hochul is standing firm on her decision to not allow a religious exemptions, saying she is unaware of any religion that allows the exemption.


She said there was never any exemptions for rubella or measles and that this mandate is no different.

The restraining order put into effect stops employers from not being allowed to permit a religious exemption, but it does not halt the mandate from going into effect on Monday.

Some religions cite the use of fetal cell lines as a reason to not take a vaccine, like Catholicism, but that religion has spoken in favor of the vaccine.

Not only that, but daily medicines like Benadryl and Tums use fetal cell lines as well.

Ostrove said that employers are working to determine if people are basing their decision to not take the vaccine on sincerely held beliefs, and that one employer is giving a survey and asking what medications the employee takes.

Local hospitals are saying their vaccination rates have started to pick up.

If an employee is not vaccinated by Monday and does not have a valid medical or religious exemption, the mandate says they will be fired.



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