2,500 DC well being care employees miss vaccine mandate deadline, as firefighters search non secular exemptions

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Washington, D.C., metropolis officers stated practically 2,500 well being care employees have didn’t adjust to their COVID-19 mandate deadline requiring at the least one dose of the inoculation by Thursday. Nearly 70% of these well being care employees who haven’t but been vaccinated have requested non secular exemptions. 

City Administrator Kevin Donahue stated the biggest variety of exemption requests have come from the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, The Washington Post reported. About 267 of the company’s some 2,000 staff have sought some kind of exemption from the vaccine mandate, with the overwhelming majority of that group citing their faith. All 20 requests which have been reviewed thus far have been rejected. 

Donahue stated 89% of all D.C. authorities staff had reported their vaccination standing by Thursday afternoon, with 75% reporting that they have been absolutely vaccinated. During a name Friday, D.C. City Council member Elissa Silverman instructed that town well being division would possibly eradicate the non secular exemption for the vaccine mandate, arguing attainable abuse. 

But members of the DC Firefighters Bodily Autonomy Affirmation Group, which is made up of members who maintain Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs, insist that their requests for non secular exemptions coincide with real expressions of their religion, which has comforted them through the pandemic. The group has retained authorized counsel ought to their requests be denied. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced in August that each one licensed, licensed well being professionals, EMS personnel, in addition to unlicensed well being care employees, which embrace affected person care technicians, private care aides, environmental providers workers, should begin a vaccination dosage by Sept. 30. 

That mandate applies to some 82,000 licensed well being care employees, not together with hearth division personnel, metropolis officers stated. 

But simply 51,000 licensed well being care employees had reported their vaccination standing by Friday morning – about 49,000 of which stated they’d obtained a number of doses of the vaccine, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, some 1,640 licensed well being care employees reported that they’d not began a dosage – and 75% of that group stated they’re in search of a spiritual exemption. 

Of the roughly 13,000 unlicensed well being care employees who reported their standing to town, greater than 12,000 stated they obtained at the least one dose of the vaccine. Meanwhile, 62% of the some 823 unlicensed employees who reported not having obtained the vaccine are requesting a spiritual exemption.

Donahue stated every exemption request have to be reviewed on a case-by-case foundation underneath federal regulation, and there’s an appeals course of, WTOP reported. But firefighters whose requests are in the end denied would possibly face termination. Other well being care employees would possibly face having their medical licenses revoked. Those employees who would possibly enchantment the choice will proceed to be subjected to weekly testing.