Charting the Legality of Religious-based Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccinations
Hodge JG, Carey E. Charting the legality of religious-based exemptions to COVID-19 vaccinations. Berkley Forum. 2021; (online February 16).
4 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 31, 2021
With the flow of COVID-19 vaccines accelerating across the U.S., assuring rapid, equitable access to vaccines presupposes that every American can and wants to be vaccinated. Some populations (children and immuno-compromised persons, for example) are ineligible or unfit candidates. Others may resist vaccinations for additional reasons. Fueled by misinformation, extensive government distrust, and divergent political ideologies, vaccine hesitancy runs rampant. National guidelines do not mandate COVID-19 vaccinations among specific groups, but state/local-based requirements are possible. Some private health care employers are already requiring vaccines among employees and volunteers. Other mandates may surface as immunization increasingly becomes one’s active pass to work, travel, or attend public activities. The national push to vaccinate coupled with rising mandates may lead many Americans to claim potential violations of religious freedoms absent accommodations. The legality of religious exemptions from vaccinations is explored further in this commentary.
Keywords: COVID-19, vaccination, vaccine, legal, exemptions, religious, First Amendment, Supreme Court, free exercise, mandate, hesitancy
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