In California hundreds of public employees, including police and firefighters, are claiming ‘sincerely held’ objections to the vaccine

This month, California became the first state to require Covid-19 vaccines for all schoolchildren but the provision came with a loophole: students will be granted religious exemptions.

California, which currently has the lowest coronavirus case rate in the US, has been issuing a series of sweeping mandates, requiring that healthcare workers, state employees, care workers and schoolteachers staff all get the vaccine. But in each case, Californians are able to ask for personal belief exemptions – and they are doing so in droves, the Guardian reports.

Epidemiologists are concerned that the loophole will embolden the vaccine-hesitant to evade requirements and undermine the state’s progress against the pandemic. And lawyers and legal experts are bracing for a deluge of complaints over the blurry lines that define “sincerely held” objections to the vaccine.

Many parents and even some teachers have raised opposition to the mandates, with walkouts and protests already taking place across the state. In rural northern California and conservative patches of the south, parents picketed against the public health measures on Monday, insisting that they wouldn’t “co-parent with the government”. Last week, teachers at a school district in Los Angeles who were denied religious exemptions demonstrated outside the headquarters.

 

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