Home Uncategorized Americans seek exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine

Americans seek exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine

Americans seek exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine
Image Courtesy: Journalists Resource

More than 2,600 employees have indicated that they plan to pursue religious exemptions, while more than 360 plan to seek medical ones.

Thousands of Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) employees plan to seek exemptions to rules requiring city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to figures released Tuesday by city officials.

More than 2,600 LAPD employees have indicated that they plan to pursue religious exemptions, while more than 360 plan to seek medical ones.

That could amount to roughly a quarter of the LAPD’s workforce planning to seek an exemption, based on data in a memo sent by Wendy Macy, who heads the personnel department. Among city employees as a whole, fewer than 11% have indicated that they will seek an exemption.

LAPD personnel are heavily represented among those who may seek religious exemptions; they make up less than 22% of city employees but account for more than 50% of those planning to seek an exemption on the basis of religion.

Under the ordinance passed last month by the City Council, city employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 5 unless they are granted a religious or medical exemption; those who receive exemptions will be subject to regular testing for the coronavirus. The vaccination requirements become a condition of city employment on Oct. 20.

City officials pushed back a deadline last week for employees to seek an exemption to the vaccination requirement, instead giving workers until the end of Monday to indicate that they plan to pursue the exemption. Across all city departments, more than 6,200 employees did so.

L.A. officials said they are reviewing the exemption data and noted that some employees may have turned in multiple forms or said they were planning to seek both religious and medical exemptions, inflating the numbers. Additionally, workers could opt to get vaccinated after telling the city they plan to ask for an exemption.

Roughly half of city employees reported that they were at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. Less than 10% of city employees have reported that they are unvaccinated, but a much higher share — roughly 40% — have not provided any information about their vaccination status, according to the data from the personnel department.

“Every city employee is required to provide their vaccine status, and the deadline has passed. Anyone who hasn’t given us that information must do it now,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Water and Power said its employees have until the end of September to report whether they are vaccinated. The department accounts for more than a third of L.A. employees who haven’t responded.

Also read: Religious Exemption

In his statement, Garcetti added, “This policy allows for medical and religious exemptions to protect certain workers’ health and constitutional rights, but let me be absolutely clear: We will not tolerate the abuse of these exemptions by those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated.”

Activists have routinely recorded police officers without masks in public spaces, despite a department directive to wear them “whenever in public or in the workplace.” Ten LAPD employees have died of COVID-19, and thousands have been infected. Moore told the Police Commission on Tuesday that there had been 66 new infections in the department in the last two weeks, with more than 140 employees at home recovering and four hospitalized.

In recent days, a group of LAPD employees filed a federal lawsuit challenging the vaccination mandate, arguing that it violates their constitutional rights to privacy and due process. Among those who sued are employees “who could not assert a medical or religious exemption,” as well as those who contend they have natural antibodies from contracting the coronavirus, according to the legal complaint, filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.


Courtesy: Los Angeles Times