Religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine to expire for Froedtert employees after Novavax vaccine
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Froedtert Health joins a list of health systems across the U.S. to require its staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or risk termination following the FDA's approval of the Novavax, protein-based vaccine .
"(This) option eliminates conflicts for those staff with religious or medical exemptions caused by mRNA-based vaccines and other concerns," Froedtert said in a statement to CBS 58. "Since those staff are now eligible for a vaccination that does not conflict with their religious beliefs or medical situation, their exemption will expire."
The hospital said the updated policy will only affect a small number of staff who had previously requested an exemption.
Here is the full statement from Froedtert:
"Froedtert Health requires staff and providers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a federal requirement that is monitored for compliance. We join many other health systems around southeast Wisconsin and the U.S. that have made vaccination a condition of employment.
The Novavax vaccination for COVID-19 is now available. This protein-based vaccination option eliminates conflicts for those staff with religious or medical exemptions caused by mRNA-based vaccines and other concerns. Since those staff are now eligible for a vaccination that does not conflict with their religious beliefs or medical situation, their exemption will expire. This affects a small percentage of staff with a vaccine exemption. Eligible staff continue to be exempt from a COVID-19 vaccine for religious and medical reasons.
Froedtert Health respects the right of staff and providers to engage in activity protected by state and federal law."
"If the religious exemption was based on how the mRNA vaccines were created or the technology that they use, there is this you know, vaccine now that obviously doesn't have those same concerns that were stated in the religious exemption, so you know, game back on," said UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof.
Novavax is different than the other COVID vaccines in that "no human fetal-derived cell lines or tissue” were used in the development, manufacture or production of its vaccine.
The main reason Froedtert Health is withdrawing medical and religious exemptions held by some of its employees, requiring the first dose by mid-September.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are known to have used laboratory-grown cell lines from fetuses that were aborted decades ago in some early-stage testing; and to grow viruses used to manufacture the J&J vaccine. Though it's important to note that health experts say none of the vaccines contain fetal cells.
"It gets tricky cause in real life almost everything that we end up using on medicine came from somewhere and some people may find that objectionable," said Dr. Pothof. "All sorts of vaccines in almost every medicine we put in our body goes through some sort of cellular testing"