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People are turning to religious exemptions for COVID vaccine

Posted at 11:01 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 02:20:07-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As the delta variant continues to surge, more and more companies are mandating vaccines in an attempt to slow the spread.

With this, some are turning to either religious or medical exemptions which would block the mandate for specific individuals.

“Talk to your doctor. Pray about it. Talk to your mentor. And you come up with your own conclusion and make your own decision. And not to be manipulated forced or coerced into making a decision,” Angelo Frazier a pastor.

Although Frazier already has his COVID-19 vaccine he believes that others should be given a choice as to what goes into their own body. This makes him one of the first pastors in Bakersfield to start issuing religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine as a new wave of companies start making mandates.

“We have to stand before God in the end and our bodies belong to him. We believe that and so if we believe that something interferes with that then we have the right to reject it. Religious exemptions have been around for a long time,” said Frazier.

Some disagree, however, including a former California Pastor Curtis Chang who said this can make a mockery of religious belief.

“In Christianity, there is no religious belief that justifies not taking the vaccine there is no scripture there is no creed there is no theological tradition,” said Chang.

Frazier said that he believes more surrounding religious institutions will soon follow. Now that churches are getting clearer guidance and he said the same goes for medical exemptions.

“You can’t say I have a medical conviction and the doctors going to give it to you. You have to be more specific about that. Religious exemptions are the same. It has to be a conviction that you've held for some time. It can’t just be made up,” said Frazier.

The California Department of Public Health said that there are only two exemptions when it comes to the vaccine mandate which includes the medical and religious exemptions. Where religion would be written by a pastor and medical would be approved by a doctor.

A medical exemption would be a severe or immediate allergic reaction after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or a known allergy to a component within the vaccine. This does not include allergies unrelated to vaccines. Such as food or environmental allergies.

Although many employees are coming to their company with exemptions some are running into issues. United Airlines announced Wednesday that any of their employees with approved medical or religious exemptions will be on put on an indefinite unpaid leave starting October 2nd.

Frazier said a one size fits all approach does not work for Americans.

“Americans have to choose what they want to a certain degree. Again, there are mandates out there but I think this is unconstitutional,” said Frazier.

For more on exemption requirement: