Oxford Eagle

State delegation questions religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines

By Staff Report

U.S. Representative Michael Guest (R-MS), U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and U.S. Representatives Steven Palazzo (R-MS) and Trent Kelly (R-MS) yesterday evening sent a letter to the Office of Management & Budget concerning reports that the Biden Administration plans to create databases of Federal employees who have requested religious exemptions to President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

On Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order mandating vaccines for Federal employees with exemptions available for those with religious objections.

Many Federal agencies have taken steps to track federal employees who have requested religious exemptions to the vaccine, including the U.S. Department of Treasury, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Justice. 

“The effects of these databases could represent an unprecedented affront to individuals’ First Amendment rights and a troubling overreach by the federal government,” the Mississippi lawmakers wrote.

The letter raises questions about the purpose of these databases, with whom the information will be shared, the length of time the databases will be maintained, and the reason the lists can be disseminated among different agencies.