- The Washington Times - Friday, September 24, 2021

More than 400 D.C. Fire and EMS employees are seeking a religious exemption for COVID-19 vaccines, according to reports.

Out of the more than 2,100 department workers, 419 of them are filing for the exemption with the city, NBC4 Washington reported.

“They’re requests at this point,” Fire Chief John Donnelly told the news outlet. “They will be ruled on by the Department of Health. We don’t rule on them. There’s a process for that.”

“When the ruling is made, they’ll have a series of choices,” Mr. Donnelly said. “They’ll either have to come into compliance or they will not have a medical license anymore, and that will prevent them from having a job.”

Until a ruling is made, the unvaccinated fire and EMS staff are being tested daily.

Last month, D.C. officials announced that all city government workers, contractors, interns and grantees will be required to get vaccinated and have until Sept. 19 to become fully inoculated. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city will have a process for those who want to apply for medical or religious exemptions. Those who are exempted will have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, she said.

Earlier this week, Miss Bowser announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates, expanding the requirements to student-athletes and adults who are regularly in schools and child care facilities.

All adults who are regularly in schools and child care centers — including teachers, principals, coaches, librarians, social workers and bus drivers — must be vaccinated by Nov. 1.

City officials also said that all student-athletes ages 12 and older must get inoculated after Nov. 1 to participate in school-based sports. Students who turn 12 between Sept. 20 and Nov. 1 must be fully vaccinated before Dec. 13.

• Shen Wu Tan can be reached at stan@washingtontimes.com.

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