These requests were approved.
People who simply said they were against the vaccine, or that their spouses did not want them to receive it, were not accommodated, he said.
“If the employee submits the request, you are assuming that it is an honest belief,” Rankin said. “Equality goes to the runner.”
Thus, they have the benefit of the doubt, but they must express their religious belief. It doesn’t matter that many major religious denominations – such as the Roman Catholic Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – ask members to be vaccinated.
This, of course, opens a gaping loophole. Just say the magic words, and anyone gets an exemption, whether or not they have a “sincere religious belief.”
By the way, the COVID-19 vaccine isn’t the city’s only requirement for public safety officials. Firefighters and police also need to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, as well as injections against measles, mumps and rubella. They must also be vaccinated against hepatitis, although they may get a separate liability waiver for this.
I asked city spokesman Andy Squire on Friday afternoon how many public safety workers had requested an exemption from this traditional shooting. By searching the fire department’s records, the city’s human resources department was able to find the records of a single firefighter requesting a religious exemption from those pre-existing vaccination warrants.