Claire Chretien

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What to do if your employer, school, or parish demands you get the coronavirus vaccine

What are your rights in these, and similar, situations? Read expert opinions and available resources.
Tue May 18, 2021 - 9:18 am EST
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UPDATE, May 24, 2021: OSHA has changed its policy and now says that employers will not be held liable for workers’ vaccine injuries. “OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts,” the new guidance says. 

“It’s hard to overstate how shocking this change is,” tweeted former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson. “If your boss tells you to take a vaccine or get fired, and you wind up in the hospital afterwards, no one has to know.”

May 18, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Well over 100 American universities mandate students receive coronavirus vaccines to attend. Employers are saying the unvaccinated will be fired or simply not hired. And in some circles it’s now commonplace not to ask people whether they’re vaccinated, but just which vaccine they’ve taken, with the assumption being all normal and sane people take this injection, or will take it the first chance they get.

What is the most prudent way to respond? What are Americans’ rights in these situations?

First, a very obvious disclaimer: Nothing in this article is intended to be or should be taken as legal or medical advice. It’s merely a compilation of publicly available information and resources with some of my own opinion sprinkled in.

As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, wrote in a recent letter to Rutgers University about its vaccine mandate, “no court has ever upheld a mandate for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) vaccine, which all COVID vaccines are at present.”

He continued:

In fact, a federal court has held that EUA vaccines cannot be mandated to soldiers in the U.S. military, who enjoy far fewer rights than civilians, Doe #1 v. Rumsfeld … That court [remarkably] held “… the United States cannot demand that members of the armed forces also serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs.” Id. at 135.

Federal law 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(e)(1)(A)(ii)(III) requires that the person to whom an EUA vaccine is administered be advised, “of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product, of the consequences, if any, of refusing administration of the product, and of the alternatives to the product that are available and of their benefits and risks.” The reason for the right of refusal stems from the fact that EUA products are by definition experimental. Under the Nuremberg Code, no one may be coerced to participate in a medical experiment. Consent of the individual is “absolutely essential.” The liability for forced participation in a medical experiment, not to mention injury from such coerced medical intervention, may be incalculable.

That, and a recent guidance from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health warning (see the employment section below) that employers who mandate their employees receive coronavirus vaccines may be liable if the employee suffers a vaccine injury, haven’t stopped American companies from mandating that workers receive the shots — or simply declaring that they’ll only hire already vaccinated people. Neither has it stopped universities from pushing these injections on their students.

State law matters: For a number of the below scenarios, you will have much recourse if you live in a state like Florida, rather than New York or California.

A stranger, friend, or family member asks if you’ve received a coronavirus vaccine.

There are a number of ways to navigate this one. The simplest is six words: “I don’t disclose my vaccine status.” Depending on how comfortable you are sharing your “unvaccinated” status, you could also explain your reasons for not taking the vaccine (allergies, ethical concerns about the use of aborted babies in various stages of vaccine development, immunity from having already been infected with the virus, unwillingness to receive a medical treatment for which the manufacturer is not liable, concerns about the vaccine’s impacts on fertility, unwillingness to take a vaccine that’s not received full approval from the FDA).

You also have the option of responding with an equally personal medical question.

Your employer is trying to force you to take the vaccine.

Read this article, and then this one, and then this one. Although there is precedent for employers forcing employees to take certain vaccines (for example, hospitals mandating flu shots), it’s a grey area with coronavirus vaccines because they’re experimental and don’t have regular FDA approval (yet). It seems (and again, this is my perspective as a laywoman — a lowly journalist, not a lawyer) that if (when?) the FDA gives full approval, you’ll have fewer rights.

The federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued guidance that employers who mandate their employees receive the vaccines may be liable if the employee suffers a vaccine injury. This is huge because not even vaccine manufacturers are liable, thanks to a little-known 1986 law. (UPDATE, May 24, 2021OSHA has changed its policy and now says that employers will not be held liable for workers’ vaccine injuries. “OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts,” the new guidance says. 

“It’s hard to overstate how shocking this change is,” tweeted former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson. “If your boss tells you to take a vaccine or get fired, and you wind up in the hospital afterwards, no one has to know.”)

READ: Ohio county prosecutor fires employee for refusing experimental vaccine, pressures others to take shots

Click here and read the very short section titled “Employment.”

Give this form (provided by America’s Frontline Doctors) to your employer and ask that it be filled out and returned to you. (The form is also available here.) Go to this link and click “vaccine public letter.” Edit the parts in red and deliver it to your employer.

America’s Frontline Doctors has a form through which you can contact them if you are looking for an attorney in your state to help if your employer is attempting to force you to take the vaccine.

Your employer forcing you to take the vaccine may be illegal if you’re in Florida.

Your university is trying to force you to take the vaccine.

Read this article. Give this form (provided by America’s Frontline Doctors) to your school and ask that it be filled out and returned to you. (That form is also available here.) Go to this link and click “vaccine public letter.” Edit the parts in red and deliver it to your university by certified mail.

Do not let this form and this letter get lost in bureaucracy. Keep records of everything — conversations (learn about if it’s legal to record someone without his knowledge in your state here), emails, signatures from FedEx or the postal service indicating your letter was received. Demand an answer.

America’s Frontline Doctors has a form through which you can contact them if you are looking for an attorney in your state to help if your university is attempting to force you to take the vaccine.

A sample Catholic religious exemption letter can be found via the Children of God for Life website here.

If you are employed by your university (for example, as a Resident Advisor), see the above section about employment. However, most university jobs that are typically available to students are for enrolled students, making this a bit of a Catch-22.

If your school is in Florida, you’re in luck. A new law signed by Gov. DeSantis bans schools from requiring the coronavirus vaccine.

“Neither government, nor private businesses, will be able to condition your participation in everyday life on producing private health information,” DeSantis tweeted upon signing the law.

Your child’s school is mandating coronavirus vaccination as a condition of enrollment.

The coronavirus vaccines are now FDA-authorized — but not fully approved — under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for kids aged 12 and up.

Just like when it comes to employment, it seems likely that it’ll be easier to skip, avoid, or not have to worry about the coronavirus vaccine for school enrollment while the COVID-19 vaccines are still considered experimental under the law.

As Children of God for Life explains:

All 50 states allow medical exemptions [to vaccines required for school enrollment], 19 offer philosophical exemptions and only three states — California, West Virginia and Mississippi do not allow religious or philosophical exemptions for children attending school. View State laws governing exemptions.

It is important to understand that as the laws vary from State to State, some are actually unconstitutional as written. In most cases, State officials realize this and do not question a parent filing an exemption since they do not want litigation. However, other officials, such as NY State are notorious for grilling parents in an attempt to determine sincerity and whether or not the belief is actually religious in nature. Still others have attempted to redefine what a particular religion does or does not teach.

If you simply need help with filing a religious exemption you may contact us. Please be sure to let us know your religious denomination and State of residence and we will be glad to assist you. Or for information on Catholic Religious exemptions click here.

Go to this link and click “vaccine public letter.” Edit the parts in red and deliver it to your child’s school by certified mail. Keep records of everything — conversations (learn about if it’s legal to record someone without his knowledge in your state here), emails, signatures from FedEx or the postal service indicating your letter was received.

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America’s Frontline Doctors has a form through which you can contact them if you are looking for an attorney in your state to help with a vaccine-related matter.

Unfortunately, you may just have to find a different school for your child. Or, maybe you need to band together with like-minded parents and start your own school, hybrid school, or homeschool co-op.

If your child’s school is in Florida, you’re in luck. A new law signed by Gov. DeSantis bans schools from requiring the coronavirus vaccine.

“Neither government, nor private businesses, will be able to condition your participation in everyday life on producing private health information,” DeSantis tweeted upon signing the law.

You’re in the military.

LifeSite has received multiple tips from people in the military or their family members about vaccine coercion, such as service members not being allowed to take leave unless they’re vaccinated. Read this LifeSite interview with a Navy lieutenant about vaccine coercion in the military.

The military can’t mandate the coronavirus vaccine yet because it’s only available under EUA. Fully FDA-approved vaccines can be mandated for military members.

As Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a liberal environmental lawyer and vaccine safety advocate, wrote recently:

… no court has ever upheld a mandate for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) vaccine, which all COVID vaccines are at present. In fact, a federal court has held that EUA vaccines cannot be mandated to soldiers in the U.S. military, who enjoy far fewer rights than civilians, Doe #1 v. Rumsfeld, 297 F.Supp.2d 119 (2003). That court [remarkably] held “… the United States cannot demand that members of the armed forces also serve as guinea pigs for experimental drugs.”

Here is what Children of God for Life says about military vaccine exemptions:

Military personnel in active duty may or may not be allowed an exemption depending on permission granted by the Commanding Officer. (Read the story of one US Coast Guard officer who fought and won.) However, military dependents are allowed religious exemptions. Click here to access the Military Dependent Children Vaccine waiver form.

Military matters are further complicated because active duty military personnel essentially give up some of their basic rights upon joining the armed forces. The military even has its own legal system through which members can be court-martialed. “The application of military law to members of the military reflects a recognition that such individuals are subject to different duties and expectations than civilian citizens,” Justia explains.

A business is demanding to know your vaccine status in order for you to be able to enter.

With the CDC’s surprise new guidance stating that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks anymore, but unvaccinated people do (regardless of if they’ve had the virus or are unable or unwilling to take the vaccine), this doesn’t seem like a far-off possibility. LifeSiteNews has already received communication from people who will not be allowed on a previously booked cruise unless they’re vaccinated.

READ: Quebec to introduce QR code as ‘electronic proof’ for COVID vaccination

Some stores — Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe’s — have essentially said that they will assume patrons not wearing masks are vaccinated and won’t require proof. Costco says, “In Costco locations where the state or local jurisdiction does not have a mask mandate, we will allow members and guests who are fully vaccinated to enter Costco without a face mask or face shield. We will not require proof of vaccination, but we ask for members’ responsible and respectful cooperation with this revised policy. Face coverings will still be required in healthcare settings, including Pharmacy, Optical, Hearing Aid. Costco continues to recommend that all members and guests, especially those who are at higher risk, wear a mask or shield.”

Remember LifeSite and many others being mocked for suggesting when the CDC vaccine cards were introduced (by the Department of Defense, no less) that they would eventually be used for nefarious purposes, such as essentially turning the unvaccinated into second-class citizens?

Dr. Leana Wen, former president of abortion giant Planned Parenthood, wrote in a May 13 Washington Post editorial that the CDC’s announcement “that fully vaccinated people can essentially resume all aspects of pre-pandemic life” and ditch their masks contains a very big problem: “There is no concurrent requirement for proof of vaccination.”

“You have no way to be confident of trusting everyone else,” the pro-abortion doctor wrote. She asked, “[W]hat about the broad danger of enabling and encouraging people who never wanted to wear masks and refuse to be vaccinated? They could spread the virus among themselves, freed from inhibition.”

“By resorting to the honor code, the CDC is removing a critical incentive to vaccination. Many who were on the fence might have been motivated to get the shot because they could go back to activities they were missing, without a mask. Now, if no one is checking, and they can do everything anyway, why bother?”

Will we have a few weeks or months of this — people in stores with and without masks, and no one asking about anyone’s vaccine status — followed by the rollout of “vaccine passports,” or a bouncer at the door of a store to check people’s CDC-issued vaccine cards?

Will one freak case of an unmasked, unvaccinated person doing something stupid be used to justify an official “check” of vaccine status to enter a store? Have Americans been conditioned by a year of “temperature checks” and “health screenings” (conducted by non-medical personnel merely checking off boxes to make sure a patron can be granted entry)? I think this has largely conditioned us to accept vaccine passports, and ultimately (I hope I’m wrong here) those who can’t provide proof of vaccination will be a) told to order groceries online and not in the store, b) be forced to mask when no one else is, singling them out as “unclean” and unvaccinated, or c) not able to get groceries at all in some places.

How this is going to shake out will become more apparent in the coming months.

My parish/diocese says the vaccine is required to go to church/participate in certain ministries/volunteer.

This is already happening. (Read this, this, and this.)

You have two options: stay and fight, or find a new parish.

An important question: How exactly does your parish plan to enforce such a mandate? Will Father or a self-important usher be checking vaccine cards at the beginning of Mass? Will there be a registry of vaccinated parishioners, perhaps kept next to sacramental records? In order to go church or participate in certain “ministries” or activities, will parishioners need to submit a doctor’s form, like the ones parents have to submit for their kids to go to school? Or will aggressive ushers and/or the priest merely assume certain parishioners are vaccinated, or just ask them to tick a box on a meaningless, useless “parish ministry form”?

Will the rights of Catholics who conscientiously object to the vaccine because of its use of aborted baby cells in production or testing be respected? The Vatican itself says vaccination must be voluntary and everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.

So, how can you fight? Go to this link and click “vaccine public letter.” Edit the parts in red and deliver it to your parish priest and diocese by certified mail.

Do not let this letter get lost in bureaucracy. Keep records of everything — conversations (learn about if it’s legal to record someone without his knowledge in your state here), emails, signatures from FedEx or the postal service indicating your letter was received. Demand an answer.

Demand a meeting with your bishop; under the Code of Canon Law, you have this right. You also have the right under canon law, as a Catholic, to access the Sacraments. There is no canon law ban on sick or potentially sick or unvaccinated Catholics receiving the Sacraments (otherwise, how could the Last Rites be administered to the sick?). Perhaps remind your bishop and priest of their predecessors, who in the Middle Ages literally anointed people sick with the bubonic plague.

In the 1300s, “[t]he plague killed an estimated 25 million people, almost a third” of Europe’s population, National Geographic explains. For people under 70, COVID-19 remains less of a threat than influenza. We are not dealing with the Black Death here, and any priest who acts like we are needs a reality check and psychiatric help.

Keep in mind most letters sent to bishops are really just sent to bishops’ trash cans. You can try to find a (good, orthodox, conservative, anti-forced vaccines) canon lawyer to help you, and this is certainly a good thing to do. But if your bishop or priest violates canon law there is very little chance of justice, even with a good canon lawyer helping you, given the shambles in which the Church is right now.

Another way to fight: Send a tip to LifeSite, with as much documentation as possible. We’ll take note and potentially report on your case. However, because of the sheer volume of emails we receive everyday, we are unable to respond to each one.

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to go to a church run by Susan from the Parish Council or a vaccine-pushing priest. If a priest can’t get something as basic as not forcing his parishioners to take a dangerous experimental vaccine right, what else is he wrong about?

So option two — which can and in my opinion should also be pursued alongside option one — is look for a new parish. Usually the best ones are run by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the Society of St. Pius X, or the Institute of Christ the King. There are also some small religious orders and monks whose priories or monasteries can be a real place of refuge for the faithful who don’t want to be part of a tyrannical government medical experiment. You might be able to find refuge at a diocesan Traditional Latin Mass, but don’t count on it.

You may have to drive a while. It may be inconvenient. But it will be worth it.

You may have to significantly change your life.

The Bible instructs us to be “wise as serpents, gentle as doves.” Hold your ground. Navigate these battles strategically and with a firm backbone. You may have to find a new job, a new university, new businesses to patronize. You may have to move to a free state.  

And you may have to grapple with difficult moral questions. What is a father providing for his family to do if he must take the vaccine for work, and can’t easily change jobs or move?

At the end of the day, it’s deeply unethical and against the natural law to force anyone to take a medical treatment. It completely violates the principle of informed consent and goes against the Nuremberg Code, an international standard of ethics for medicine adopted after the horrors of Nazi Germany.

You may have to file a lawsuit, and if you do, you should do so remembering that the outcome of such a lawsuit could make a real difference in the fight against tyranny. It could make a hugely positive difference in other people’s lives, too. And yes, lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming. But if you have the means (or even just some of the means) to pursue one, maybe you should.

Your life may be significantly altered because of your refusal to subject yourself to the will of the public health cabal. But every time one person refuses to comply with unjust mandates, it’s easier for other people to do the same. A stand for freedom can have a ripple effect.

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here. 

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