Exemption Laws

Click on the images below to see the PA code as it relates to exemptions in the various settings.

Exemption FAQs

What exemptions are available for students in PA?

Students in K-12 can exercise their right to vaccine exemptions based on medical, religious, or strong moral/ethical beliefs.  A small handful of private schools that receive no state funding do not accept non-medical exemptions, but most schools accept exemptions with no problem.

What rights do I have as a parent of a school aged child?

The PA law is clear that K-12 schools (public, private, parochial) must accept any written and signed note of religious/moral, ethical objection to vaccines from parents. These exemption notes are received by public schools frequently and without question or discussion. Catholic and Jewish schools are not as quick to follow the law and at times refuse to accept religious exemptions.
 
We recommend a very short and basic exemption note like the example we have below. Do not state a reason for the religious/ moral, ethical belief or any specifics about your beliefs. The law does not require you to specify if your exemption is either religious or moral/ ethical. It is one category of exemption. The PA department of health “green card” forces parents to choose which exemption they are using (religious or moral, ethical). Some schools tell parents they have to use this card. However, PA law does not require any specific card or form for exemption and does not require parents to state which category their belief falls under.
 
The exemption should not be shown to or discussed with any staff member at the school except for the school nurse and the person designated to collect registration documents (not teachers or principals). If you need to discuss your child’s exemption with the school nurse, we recommend communicating by email to keep a record of all communication.
 
Schools should be informing parents about exemptions whenever they discuss vaccine requirements at meetings or when they send emails or post on their website site about vaccine requirements.

Do you think PA is in danger of losing vaccine exemption rights for students?

With a strong foundation of religious freedom and personal liberty written into our Constitution and a significant population of conservative religious communities, PA legislators understand the necessity to respect the beliefs and choices that reflect our heritage. The way that the school code is written, requirements for homeschoolers and public schoolers are the same, which does create a situation that would make the removal of exemptions very challenging for lawmakers.  

What exemptions are available for college students?

The PA School Code only applies to students in grades K-12. College students are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and may express a religious objection to a school’s vaccination policy. Typically, a simple letter from the student or an attorney, outlining the students’ religious objection, submitted to the school administration, is sufficient to enable the student to attend any PA college without having to be vaccinated. More information about exercising a religious exemption can be found here. We have never heard of a PA school that will not accept medical exemptions. These must be signed by an MD or DO.

Employee Rights

 

Is your employer or school requiring you to receive a Covid-19 vaccine or submit to mandatory testing? If so, they are operating outside of the law.

As of now, no Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine-type product has received FDA approval. They have been granted Emergency Use Authorization EUA) only. These products have specific and clear Federal instructions that require consent and voluntary application only. Details are explained in this article by attorneys Greg Glaser & Mary Holland.

The Informed Consent Action Network’s (ICAN) legal team, led by Aaron Siri, is challenging employers and schools that require a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have been fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, ICAN is offering to support legal action—subject to resources available—on your behalf to challenge the requirement. For assistance, email ICAN at freedom@icandecide.org with documentation of the termination conditions.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers’ right to refuse vaccinations based on religious objections. Under the PA & US Constitutions, it is unlawful for an employer to require proof of religious affiliation in order to exercise this right. Religious exemption is based on belief, not affiliation. These documents can help PA employees exercise their right to religious exemptions and to inform employers of their rights under the law:

Employee Rights – EEOC

Employee Rights EEOC – Covid-19 Specific

Steps for Exercising a Religious Exemption for in the Workplace

Military Exemption Information

See the following for affidavit instructions and a sample affidavit. An affidavit is different from an exemption; it is a tool that asserts one’s Constitutional Rights. This sample affidavit is from the American Common Law Academy:

Affidavit Instructions

Affidavit of Declination for Offer of Medical Interventions, Products, and Devices

For more details about employee rights, visit NVIC’s FAQ page.

Downloads: Fact Sheets & Letters

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Advocacy on the state level is vital to the medical freedom movement. Whether it is learning about bills or discussing problems with legislators, advocates play the role of liaison between the people and elected legislators. 

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