COVID-19 vaccine exemption bill passes West Virginia House, heads to Senate

West Virginia

USA, West Virginia, Charleston, West Virginia State Capitol, exterior

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK/AP) — A bill to limit West Virginia employers in their ability to require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus has passed the House of Delegates. The proposal would allow certain medical and religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

It passed the Republican-led House 68-30 Friday and is pending in the Senate. 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.

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

Dozen of businesses, including hospitals, banks and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, have told lawmakers they strongly oppose the bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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