When reviewing religious exception requests for the COVID-19 vaccination, we follow guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (SFW).
These guidelines require an individual to have “a sincerely held religious belief” against the COVID-19 vaccination to be eligible for the exception. Instead of defining “a sincerely held religious belief,” these guidelines provide questions that help employers analyze whether an employee has “a sincerely held religious belief.”
Therefore, we ask a series of in-app questions as part of our exemption review process, such as:
• How long have you held your religious belief?
• Is your religious belief against all vaccinations or just the COVID-19 vaccine?
• Have you received any other vaccinations as an adult?
• Do you have non-religious reasons you are against the vaccine?
While you do not need to answer every question to be considered eligible, you must provide a reasoned explanation of how receiving the COVID-19 vaccination will substantially interfere with your religious beliefs, practices, or observances. The more information you provide, the better.
If you cannot give a reasoned explanation, you will not be eligible for a religious exception. Mistrusting the effectiveness of the vaccine is NOT sufficient to be eligible.
Please note that Religious Exemptions are currently not able to be accepted for the state of New York.