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An Indiana university COVID mandate protest.WHAS11 / YouTube

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Department of Commerce proposed a regulation this week to keep a record of every American who seeks a medical exemption to COVID-19 vaccination requirements, following similar proposals to track religious exemptions.

‘Requests for ‘medical accommodation’ or ‘medical exceptions’ will be treated as requests for a disability accommodation and evaluated and decided under applicable Rehabilitation Act standards for reasonable accommodation absent undue hardship to the agency,” reads the proposed rule submitted to the Federal Register. “The agency will be required to keep confidential any medical information provided, subject to the applicable Rehabilitation Act standards. This medical exemption form is necessary for Commerce to determine legal exemptions to the vaccine requirement under the Rehabilitation Act.”

A spokesperson for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget told The Daily Signal that the information collection was necessary to process exemption applications, but that applicants’ privacy would be protected. May remain unconvinced, however.

“Treating COVID-19 medical exemptions as ‘disability accommodations’ shows how little the Biden administration and the COVID gods value liberty and informed consent,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the Senate’s most active opponent of COVID vaccine mandates. “No one should be coerced or pressured into receiving any medical treatment, and putting federal employees who seek medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine on a list and labeling their private medical decisions degrades the health autonomy of all federal employees.”

The rule, which the general public can submit comments on until March 28, follows the news that the Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA) has proposed a similar rule to maintain “personal religious information collected in response to religious accommodation requests for religious exception from the federally mandated vaccination requirement in the context of a public health emergency or similar health and safety incident.”

The Daily Signal reported that 18 federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Health & Human Services, Transportation, and Treasury, are considering maintaining similar lists.

In response, Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina introduced legislation to deny federal funding to any system that tracks religious objections to COVID shots.

Many Americans continue to harbor serious reservations as to the new vaccines’ safety, stemming in large part from the rushed nature of their creation. The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative developed and released the shots in a tenth of the time vaccine development usually takes and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine, yet their advocates have done little to address the concerns of the hesitant. 

Further, data indicates that widespread dissemination of the COVID vaccines has failed to end the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 210 million Americans (63% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available throughout all of 2021; the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.

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