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The Sikh Coalition News
September 30, 2021
  • Recent News on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

    To read this email in Punjabi, please click here.

    September 30, 2021 -- Early in September 2021, President Biden announced new federal vaccine mandates that will potentially impact nearly 100 million Americans. In addition, many states, universities, and schools have implemented their own COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

    The Sikh Coalition is sharing information about these mandates in an effort to help better understand and determine how, if at all, they affect sangat members and their families. Because guidelines and recommendations are constantly changing, it is important to check local requirements.

    Vaccine mandates allow you to safely access services. A vaccine mandate means that in order to do certain things like work, go to school, or attend public events, you must be vaccinated. If you are not, employers, schools, or businesses can legally refuse entry or services if they so choose. It is important to note that while the decision to take a vaccine is entirely up to the individual, certain amenities or services can be withheld if you choose to remain unvaccinated or keep your children unvaccinated.

    Vaccine mandates already exist in many places. Vaccinations laws exist to prevent the spread of diseases such as measles, polio, and others. State vaccination laws are required for children to attend school and for some healthcare workers (with rare exceptions). Vaccinations are also required for immigration to the United States or for travel.

    COVID-19 vaccine mandates are meant to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including children. Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for kids ages 12 and older because they have been shown to protect against severe disease and hospitalization. Vaccine mandates are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19 to unvaccinated populations, including children who are too young to be vaccinated. While President Biden has called for state-level measures to ensure students are protected, each state and school district is making decisions at a local level for masking and for vaccination requirements.

    Mandates related to masks and/or COVID-19 vaccines are now in place in many public spaces. Many colleges and universities have mandated that their students get a COVID-19 vaccine, as they already require other vaccinations. Here is a list of colleges that have the mandate in place. In addition, restaurants in many cities and states also require proof of vaccination to access services.

    Details for implementing the employer mandates are still pending. President Biden has announced that all federal workers must be vaccinated, including employees and contractors throughout different branches of the government as well as workers in healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. Additionally, per a recent executive order, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule for employers with more than 100 employees to require that their employees are either fully vaccinated or are tested for COVID-19 weekly. However, as of the writing of this information, employers are still waiting for OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.

    You can apply to be exempted from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Exemptions can be granted for medical or religious reasons. Contact the appropriate person or office for details on how to apply for exemptions in a school or work setting.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.

    The Sikh Coalition, in collaboration with the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association (NASMDA), the Sikh Family Center, and the Jakara Movement, is working to ensure that all Sikh Americans have access to information and resources regarding vaccinations for COVID-19. While we are not a public health organization, we are pursuing this work so that we can all do our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Please email community@sikhcoalition.org with any questions about this work, and always consult your doctor with specific inquiries about your personal health.

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