About 650 workers at the Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi, Michigan, have been refused religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to The Gateway Pundit (TGP), Ascension mandates vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees, regardless of whether they offer direct care to patients or operate remotely from their facilities. There's a procedure for employees to seek an exemption on Ascension's website, similar to the one they use for their yearly influenza vaccination.
Ascension, having Catholic roots, has grown to become one of the biggest private healthcare systems in the nation, with a hospital count that ranks second in the United States for 2019.
The deadline for finishing the vaccination and fulfilling the requirement has been set for November 12, 2021.
However, an Ascension hospital employee contacted TGP and said that he and several others had filed religious exemptions from the COVID shot.
"I am on a message board with approximately 650 other Ascension employees who have requested mostly religious exemptions, and no one has been granted one (including me). No one!" the e-mail read.
"I have heard that some employees of Henry Ford (non-Catholic hospital) and Beaumont hospital have been granted some religious exemptions. For Ascension to call themselves a Catholic institution, accept the submission of religious exemptions, then to reject ALL of them, is simply unacceptable. I'd like to bring light to this situation. Please help me."
The following is an excerpt from a screenshot of the denial response to religious exemption requests:
"Due to the nature of your role, approving this accommodation poses undue hardships to the organization due to increased risk to the workplace and patient safety."
In addition to filing their request, hospital workers must agree that if they do not get vaccinated or get an exemption by 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2021, they will be suspended pending further inquiry. Continued noncompliance will be seen as voluntary resignation. For self-employed people, persistent non-compliance may result in eviction from the facility and/or termination of services.
This is not limited to the state of Michigan. One TGP reader pointed out that an Ascension Hospital in the Indianapolis had done the same thing. A similar email was sent to close friends and relatives of the commenter who requested religious exemptions from Ascension Day. All of the requests were denied.
However, while the Biden administration makes use of OSHA's statutory authority to force businesses to vaccinate their workers or lose their jobs, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas took a bold step by issuing an executive order outlawing vaccine mandate statewide, which includes private businesses.
According to the Texas Tribune, Gov. Abbott renewed his crackdown on COVID-19 vaccine requirements on Monday, this time prohibiting any organization in Texas, including private businesses, from mandating vaccines for workers or customers.
Abbott also urged the Legislature to enact a similar legislation, pledging to withdraw the executive order once it was enacted. The Legislature is now in its third special session of the year, which will conclude on October 19.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced," he tweeted.