- At least 1,700 health workers in San Diego County have asked for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate waiver for religious reasons
- It comes after President Joe Biden announced a new series of mandates, including a requirement that all medical workers be vaccinated last week
- Hospital officials say most religious waiver requests cite concerns about stem cells
- None of the three COVID vaccines – Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson – contained embryonic cells approved in the US
At least 1,700 medical workers in San Diego County have applied for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate waiver.
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a new series of mandates, including a requirement that all health care workers be vaccinated against the virus.
However, the White House said Americans would be allowed to request exemptions on ‘narrow and specific’ religious grounds.
A new survey conducted by San Diego Union-Tribune found that thousands of county activists are demanding his removal from the mandate for religious reasons.
No major denomination opposes vaccines, but claims of religious exemptions are rising across the US as more health workers say they do not want to be forced to get the shot.
At least 1,700 health workers in San Diego County have asked for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate waiver for religious reasons. Image: Occupational health nurse Maureen Finnegan (left) administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Dr Heather Pierce at the Pediatric Hospital at Ready Children’s Hospital in San Diego, December 2020
It comes after President Joe Biden announced a new series of mandates, including a requirement that all medical workers be vaccinated last week (above).
The Union-Tribune contacted medical providers across the state and asked how many religious exemption requests they had received from employees.
Sharp Healthcare, the county’s largest healthcare system, said it received more than 700 requests.
UC San Diego Health told the newspaper it has received 610 waiver requests and Scripps Health says it has received more than 400.
That means at least 1,710 requests have been made out of 53,000 workers employed by the three health systems.
Palomar Health, a very small health system with 4,200 employees, says just 22 requests have been filed.
Neither Kaiser Permanente San Diego nor Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego responded to Union-Tribune’s request for figures.
Sharp Healthcare’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Brett McClain said the majority of requests cite stem cells.
“I would say that more than 90 percent of our religious exemptions are citing Christian causes around stem cells,” McClain told the newspaper.
‘ The rest are along the lines: “I’m in control of my body.”
None of the three COVID vaccines – Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson – contained embryonic cells approved in the US
However, embryonic cell lines, which are laboratory-grown cells based on aborted embryonic cells, collected in the 1970s and 1980s, were used for research and development of the shots.
The cells are cultured, allowing them to grow for many years, and are used to make vaccines for many diseases such as hepatitis A, rubella, and rabies.
Malia Wylie, a medical assistant in the San Diego Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics, told the newspaper that she had just received a religious exemption.
She said, ‘In my religion, my conscience tells me to proceed the way I want to keep my body as a temple.’
‘I don’t believe the embryonic cells they made these vaccines with. material, I do not suit them.
Wylie told the Union-Tribune that she identifies as a non-denominational Christian.
She declined to name the church she regularly attends but said her church officials supported the decision.