A central Arkansas hospital system is requiring staff members who receive a religious exemption from getting the COVID-19 vaccine to also give up other popular medications.
Conway Regional Medical Center has joined the growing number of hospitals mandate Covid shots for workers.
Employees of the hospital system will have until October 8 to be fully vaccinated, but there is an option for some to get a religious exemption from the requirement.
Hospital leadership noticed that many were applying for religious exemptions based on the potential use of fetal cell lines in the development of the vaccine.
To make sure that employees applying for waivers to dodge vaccine requirements are doing so because of their truly-held beliefs, the hospital is making them attest that they will stop using 30 other common drugs that also used fetal cell lines for development, including Tylenol and Tums.
Conway Regional Health System is requiring all employees to get vaccinated by October 8 to keep their jobs. Those who apply for a religious exemption on the basis of vaccines using fetal cell links in development will also have to attest to not use other drugs that used the same process in development
‘This was significantly disproportionate to what we’ve seen with the influenza vaccine,’ Matt Troup, CEO of Conway, told Becker’s Hospital Review.
‘Thus, we provided a religious attestation form for those individuals requesting a religious exemption.
‘The intent of the religious attestation form is twofold: to ensure staff requesting exemption are sincere in their beliefs and to educate staff who might have requested an exemption without understanding the full scope of how fetal cells are used in testing and development in common medicines.’
Hospital workers applying for exemption will have so sign a form attesting that they will also seize any use of aspirin, Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Motrin, Tums, Benadryl, ibuprofen and others.
None of the three Covid vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson – approved in the U.S. contained aborted fetal cells.
However, fetal cell lines, which are laboratory-grown cells based on aborted fetal cells that were collected in the 1970s and 1980s, were used for research and development of the shots.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did not use fetal cell links in development, though the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did (File Photo)
One cell is gathered, then multiplied infinitely to create cells used for science experiments.
They are often used in vaccine development to help create virus cells that can be used for the shots.
According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines did not use fetal cell lines in development, though the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did.
Some object to this practice on religious grounds because they oppose abortion and the use of fetuses in medical development.
The practice of using fetal cell lines in medical development is common, though, and as the hospital notes, many popular medications also used the process.
Employees who fail to sign the attestation that they will not use the other drugs will only receive temporary exemption, and they will be open to discipline when it expires.
Any non-exempt employee who is not vaccinated by the October 8 deadline will be subject to disciplinary action and potentially termination, the hospital says.
New hires at Conway are also required to get fully vaccinated within 30 days of their start of employment.
‘This is a decision that has come after much discussion, analysis, and education. It’s one we do not take lightly,’ Troup wrote in a statement about the new hire vaccine mandates.
‘As the community’s health system for 100 years, we feel strongly that we must lead our community in vaccine adoption and set an example for the communities we serve.
‘We have a responsibility to our patients, to our team members, and to the community to do the right thing,’
‘The evidence is clear that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, as well as hospitalizations and death.’
Around five percent of employees at the hospital are seeking a religious exemption to receiving the shots.