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September 22, 2021 RAPID RESPONSE

Is There a Needle in the Haystack? Exploring Religious Objections to Vaccine Mandates

The question of whether individuals can be required to demonstrate they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in various activities such as school, public events, travel, or even work has moved from the largely academic to the urgent with the FDA’s announcement of final approval of the Pfizer vaccine. An increasing number of employers, educational institutions, healthcare institutions and others in both the public and private sectors are mandating vaccines.

Vaccine mandates raise important factual, legal and constitutional issues as to whether those who assert religious objections to being vaccinated can or should be granted an exemption or accommodation. Our distinguished panel of practitioners who are counseling clients on these daunting issues discuss the legal issues and practical problems in a quickly changing area that pits profound challenges to public health against the core national value of upholding religious freedom.


  • Jeffrey A. Berman, Senior Counsel, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Nicholas P. Miller, Senior Counsel, Schaerr Jaffe LLP; Professor of Church History, Andrews University; Director, International Religious Liberty Institute, Andrews University
  • Wendy Musell, Of Counsel, Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP; Founding Partner, Law Offices of Wendy Musell
  • Jennifer Gray Woods, Associate Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists


  • James A. Sonne, Professor of Law and Director of the Religious Liberty Clinic, Stanford Law School; Vice Chair, Religious Freedom Committee, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice


Presentations: Nicholas P. Miller,  Wendy Musell

Vaccination without Litigation — Addressing Religious Objections to Hospital Influenza-Vaccination Mandates

United Airlines employees sue company over its 'draconian' COVID vaccine mandate | FOX Business, September 22, 2021

5 Tips for Spotting Phony Religious Vax Exemption Requests | Law360, September 22, 2021

Coronavirus Update 9-20-21: Fetal stem cells and vaccine-mandate religious exemptions

Seyfarth Shaw LLP Vaccine Policy Playbook

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