NewsCovering Kern County


Some seek vaccine exemptions, attorney weighs in

Proper documentation needed for shot exemptions
Posted at 9:44 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 11:18:01-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As Covid cases continue to rise, more big companies are starting to require the COVID-19 vaccine. This has been seen with some indoor businesses in San Francisco and the same idea floating around the city of Los Angeles.

If required, according to the California Department of Public Health, there are some instances where vaccine exemptions can be made. Exemptions would only be for those who are unable to get the COVID-19 shot due to a medical condition or a religious belief.

“What we're seeing now with vaccinations there's sort of this collision between personal rights and public health,” said local attorney Jay Rosenlieb.

Rosenlieb said it is not illegal for a business entity to require a COVID-19 vaccine going forward. However, if one does have an exemption they legally need to be given accommodation.

“That would be a testing requirement or that would be masks and if you refuse to be tested or wear masks then you can be denied entry,” said Rosenlieb.

The latest vaccine mandates are for healthcare workers. Healthcare employees within the state of California will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine no later than September 30.

The California Department of Public Health echoing Rosenlieb’s statement in a statement issued last week stating in part, “the worker is declining vaccination based on religious beliefs, or (2) the worker is excused from receiving any COVID-19 vaccine due to qualifying medical reasons.”

Rosenlieb said proper documentation is needed from a healthcare provider to proceed.

“Doesn’t have to say what the diagnosis is but it does have to be from a licensed healthcare provider," explained Rosenlieb. "It cannot just be the employee just raising their hand saying I have a medical condition.”

Similar steps will need to be taken to go through with a religious exemption.

“Has to demonstrate a sincerely held religious belief. And that can be supported in a number of ways but generally, it might be a letter from a pastor. And then there's a discussion about whether it is a sincerely held religious belief,” said Rosenlieb.

Although Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend that it can still take a few more weeks for some of the vaccines to receive full FDA approval, Rosenlieb says that this has no impact on mandates.

“So far it does not," said Rosenlieb. "The courts have been fairly clear across the country that vaccines can be mandated in the case of Covid-19 without final FDA approval.”

23ABC reached out to the Employment Development Department to confirm if someone who was fired from their job due to refusing the vaccine can miss out on unemployment benefits and there has yet to be a response.