TST Stance on Vaccination Exemptions
TST will not grant religious exemptions for vaccinations, as this does not align with our Tenets. Specifically, Tenets III and IV state that one’s body is inviolable and the freedoms of others should be respected.
While one may believe that these support one’s right to refuse vaccination, this is not the case, as vaccinations are an issue of public as opposed to individual health. One’s decision to decline vaccination directly affects others by putting them at risk and thus limiting their freedoms. Additionally, Tenet V states that beliefs should conform to one’s best scientific understanding of the world, and the scientific community clearly supports the benefit of vaccination.
With regards to the COVID-19 vaccine in particular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the vaccine, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals age 16 and older.
Major medical associations, including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, among others, support mandatory vaccination for all health workers, and the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant. Because the decision to not be vaccinated adversely affects others, TST will not grant religious exemptions for any vaccination.