Coronavirus Updates

Can I get an exemption from Biden’s vaccine mandate?

Coronavirus in West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — The Biden Administration just mandated the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly negative tests for businesses that have more than 100 employees. 

This affects more than 100 million Americans across the country.  

And now some, who have religious or medical reasons for not taking the vaccine, are wondering if there are ways they can be exempt.

“Based upon HR, I think it could be very easy. If someone comes in and says, ‘I don’t want to take it,’ if you think this is about your rights and civil liberties and that is your reason, I think you need to go back and read. But if you have a genuine belief, religious exemptions are available for those people.”  

Abraham Saad, Partner, Glazer Saad Anderson L.C.

Saad says when requesting this exemption, the process should be private for employees as there are certain questions that are considered off-limits to employers.  

He says exemptions waivers for federal employees should be available for access through your office’s HR department.

Health departments in the mountain state say the standards for what falls under the exemption category will vary from business to business.  

“Because most of these are institution wide, meaning it’s either a hospital system, or a clinical system, or a governmental entity they will set the rules as to what they deem to be a medical exemption as oppose to a religious exemption.”  

Sherri Young, Intern Executive Director, KCHD

They say medical reasons for opposing the vaccine could be an allergic reaction to the vaccine or a component of the vaccine.  

Dr. Young says to find out if you qualify for a medical exemption, you should reach out to your health care provider.

Is the process hard?

“Based upon HR, I think it could be very easy. If someone comes in and says, ‘I don’t want to take it,’ if you think this is about your rights and civil liberties and that is your reason, I think you need to go back and read. But if you have a genuine belief, religious exemptions are available for those people,” says Saad.

Can my employer question my religious exemption?

“I would assume that you’re walking a thin line there. And the reason that I say you’re walking a thin line because there are certain questions for discrimination purposes that are supposed to be off-limits. You’re supposed to hire someone based upon their credentials, based upon that person’s resume, for instance. So, to ask certain religious questions seems like you’re walking a thin line there,” says Saad.

What is a medical exemption?

“Because most of these are institution-wide, meaning it’s either a hospital system, or a clinical system, or a governmental entity, they will set the rules as to what they deem to be a medical exemption as oppose to a religious exemption,” says Young.

How do I get a medical exemption?

“A medical exemption is – by definition – the reason you cannot have a vaccine, for a medical reason. Meaning that either you’ve had a previous reaction to that vaccine or you’ve had a medical reaction to a component of that vaccine,” says Young.

Who determines what will be a medical exemption?

“Medical exemptions are usually attained by your health care provider. That can be your primary care physician; it can be a nurse or a person who is involved in your personal health care. So, if you’re seeking a medical exemption from whatever entity or whatever company, or school that you’re getting the medical exemption from the vaccine, you need to talk to your health care provider first,” says Young.

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