West Virginia Legislature to consider COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemption bill

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 file photo, a nurse loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Jackson, Miss. Millions of Americans are now eligible to receive a Pfizer booster shot to help increase their protection against the worst effects of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — On Tuesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice amended his special session proclamation to call on the West Virginia Legislature to add a new bill regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements to the special session agenda.

If passed, the bill would require any West Virginia state entities as well as any business operating in West Virginia requiring their employees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to honor certain medical and religious exemptions.

The bill covers all current and prospective employees.

Medical exemptions could be obtained with documentation signed by a licensed physician or an advanced practice registered nurse stating that the employee has a physical condition which prevents them from safely receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or that the employee has already developed COVID-19 and therefore has antibodies from being exposed to the virus.

Religious exemptions could be obtained with a notarized certification from the employee presented to the employer.

The bill contains language prohibiting employers from penalizing or discriminating against current or prospective employees for pursuing exemptions.

The bill also states that immunization may not be mandated for students attending school in the state.

See below for the governor’s amendment.

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