CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—On Tuesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice amended his special session proclamation to call on the West Virginia Legislature to add a new bill regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements to the special session agenda.
If passed, the bill would require any West Virginia state entities as well as any business operating in West Virginia requiring their employees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to honor certain medical and religious exemptions.
The bill covers all current and prospective employees.
Medical exemptions could be obtained with documentation signed by a licensed physician or an advanced practice registered nurse stating that the employee has a physical condition which prevents them from safely receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or that the employee has already developed COVID-19 and therefore has antibodies from being exposed to the virus.
Religious exemptions could be obtained with a notarized certification from the employee presented to the employer.
The bill contains language prohibiting employers from penalizing or discriminating against current or prospective employees for pursuing exemptions.
The bill also states that immunization may not be mandated for students attending school in the state.
WVU Medicine issued the following statement regarding the bill:
“WVU Medicine opposes the COVID-19 exemptions bill in its current form. We would urge the Legislature to push the pause button and work with key stakeholders and employers across West Virginia to ensure this bill does not unintentionally derail their efforts to protect their employees and the broader public.”WVU Medicine statement on the proposed COVID-19 exemptions bill
See below for the governor’s amendment.