When the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sent an email to all employees mandating the COVID-19 shots, Liberty Counsel issued a press release stating that forcing federal employees violated the Emergency Use Authorization law and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, among other laws.
Liberty Counsel was flooded with requests from VA healthcare workers who refused to get the shots. VA Secretary Denis McDonough failed to mention that employees can simply check a box and turn in the form to be automatically granted a religious exemption. In fact, employees “need not disclose the religious reason to their supervisor.”
On Monday, July 26, VA Secretary McDonough announced that the COVID-19 injections were mandatory for Title 38 VA health care personnel — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities, or provide direct care to those that the VA serves.
In his statement McDonough said, “Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make—and keep—that fundamental promise.” The mandate gave each employee eight weeks to comply, and employees will receive four hours of paid administrative leave after demonstrating they have gotten the shot.
However, it appears the VA is just using “mandatory vaccination” as a ploy to increase COVID injection rates since employees can easily get a religious exemption.
According to the “VHA Directive 1193” dated July 27, 2021: “If VHA Title 38 HCP decline to receive the COVID-19 vaccine because of a deeply held religious belief, they must complete the COVID-19 Vaccination VA Form 10-263 declaring an exemption for deeply held religious belief. VHA Title 38 HCP must obtain their immediate supervisor’s signature on the VA Form 10-263, but VHA Title 38 HCP need not disclose the religious reason to their supervisor. VHA Title 38 HCP must submit the completed VA Form 10-263 to the facility Employee Occupational Health staff within 8 weeks of publication of this directive.”
Federal workers may also claim religious exemptions under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This law applies to all levels of the federal government, including the VA.
In addition to federal law, the FDA includes the Nuremberg Code and the Helsinki Declaration on its website, emphasizing the fact that people cannot be forced to take experimental drugs without their full consent.
The COVID shots cannot be mandatory under authorization of emergency use (EAU). On March 27, 2020, the Health and Human Services (HHS) declared that circumstances exist justifying the EUA of drugs and biological products for COVID-19. That means people must be told the risks and benefits, and they have the right to decline a medication that is not fully licensed. All of the COVID-19 mRNA injections (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) or vaccines (Johnson & Johnson and Astra Zeneca) have received only EAU authorization and not full FDA approval.
Furthermore, COVID shots cannot be mandatory under Title VII. In general, employee vaccine religious exemption requests must be accommodated, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many people hold sincere religious beliefs against taking any vaccines, or taking those derived from aborted fetal cell lines, or taking those sold by companies that profit from the sale of vaccines and other products derived from abortion. Title VII, as amended, prohibits two categories of employment practices. It is unlawful for an employer: “(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Secretary Denis McDonough is using the ‘vaccination mandate’ to increase COVID injection numbers for the federal government. The mandate not only violates the law, but employees can easily get a religious exemption. Under the federal Emergency Use Authorization law, these shots cannot be mandated or administered without the free and full consent of the individual. The VA has no authority to mandate the COVID shots. Federal employees are also protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It is shocking that the Biden administration and a federal agency would hide the fact that employees have a right to opt out of forced COVID shots. These healthcare workers are heroes. It is wrong to violate their right to informed consent and bully them into compliance.”