The Oregon Health Authority has created a COVID-19 Religious Exception Request Form. It’s for people who are — you guessed it — requesting a religious exception to the vaccination requirement for religious reasons.
There’s not much to it. Name. Phone number. Date of birth. Employer name. Job title. There’s a box to tick if: “Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination conflicts with my religious observances, practices or beliefs as described below.”
There’s a small space for people to explain. Might be room for two sentences. And then there’s a place to sign it and date it. It almost fits on one page.
If people have religious beliefs that prevent them from being vaccinated from COVID-19, well, that is their belief. But this religious exception is similar to the ones Oregon already has in place for school vaccinations. And by that we mean, you could drive busloads of people through it who don’t have any real religious belief about vaccinations and could use it as an excuse to not be vaccinated.
Employers can take steps to protect their employees if they know an employee is unvaccinated.
Employers are actually not required to if “doing so would pose a direct threat to the excepted individual or others in the workplace or would create an undue hardship,” according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The burden will likely fall in large part on employees. So if you are around other employees at work, please don’t let your guard slip, as awkward and unfortunate as it may be. Vaccination is the best weapon we have against COVID-19. Distancing and masking help.