No Religious Exemption from Virginia’s Emergency Immunization Law

The nation is in the grip of a public health emergency, but one Virginia lawmaker is taking cynical advantage of this crisis by using religion to thumb his nose at science-based health care.

If you’re in Virginia, you can help fight back by urging your representatives to oppose this bill.

Virginia already allows for a religious exemption to normal state-mandated vaccinations, and that’s bad enough, but at least the law includes this crucial exception: during a declared public health emergency, the Commissioner of Health may require immediate immunization of all individuals who are not exempted for medical reasons.

Once a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is made available, obviously Virginians would want everyone who can get vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so. It would save countless lives.

Unbelievably, Delegate Mark L. Cole is throwing a wrench into an emergency COVID-driven session of the Virginia legislature by introducing H.B. 5016A, which creates a religious exemption from the eminently reasonable, last-resort authority of the Commissioner to require immunization during an epidemic.

Don’t let anti-science lawmakers make religion a magic word that trumps all other considerations, including human life.

Please, remind your state representatives that the purpose of Virginia’s special session is to STOP the novel coronavirus, not help religious extremists spread it around.


Jason Lemieux
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Inquiry

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