Gianforte urges religious exemptions for healthcare workers facing vaccination mandate

Governor Greg Gianforte is urging unvaccinated healthcare workers to consider using religious and medical exemptions before the next federal vaccination mandate deadline. Gianforte says healthcare workers should weigh all their options.

Gov. Gianforte says unvaccinated healthcare workers in Montana have alternatives ahead of Monday’s deadline, when employees must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They should be fully vaccinated by mid-March.

Last month, the United States Supreme Court upheld vaccination mandates for medical facilities receiving federal funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

In his open letter published Thursday, Gianforte suggested employees who oppose the mandate consider using religious and medical exemptions. The letter included A model for unvaccinated employees who request such exemptions. Gianforte also encourages unvaccinated workers to speak with co-workers or visit their personal physician to get vaccinated.

Gianforte’s office tells Montana Public Radio that the state does not track the number of healthcare workers seeking exemptions, but adds that the governor has “spoken directly with hospital leaders who have reported that thousands of healthcare workers have been granted an exemption for sincere religious belief.”

Rich Rasmussen of the Montana Hospital Association doesn’t think the governor’s letter will lead to many new demands for exemptions or vaccinations.

“Hospitals had prepared for this by going back to the original deadline before the Supreme Court intervened,” Rasmussen said. “It gave us more time to be able to move our team members to a place of compliance, whether that’s through vaccination or exemption.”

Rasmussen expects all hospitals in the state to follow federal vaccination regulations.

Comments are closed.