An Arkansas Riddle: What do Tums and Pfizer Have in Common?

September 21, 2021 |

COVID-19 vaccine exemption requests based on religious beliefs is on the rise, as we have blogged.  The majority of “religious” exemption requests are based on personally held beliefs, not as members of a particular religion. Specifically, many of those opposed to the vaccine claim the use of fetal cell lines to develop the COVID-19 vaccines is against their personal beliefs. Fair enough. Or is it?

A hospital system in Arkansas has taken a novel approach to determining the validity of this belief.* The hospital is now requiring staff to also swear off extremely common medicines, also developed with fetal cell lines. The list includes Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, Tums, Lipitor, Senokot, Motrin, ibuprofen, Maalox, Ex-Lax, Benadryl, Sudafed, albuterol, Preparation H, MMR vaccine, Claritin, Zoloft, Prilosec OTC, and azithromycin. The attestation form is to both test the belief and to educate the staff.

Please note we are not recommending this approach to review religious exemptions. Religious exemptions are tricky and fraught with potential issues. Rather, it is a good example of facts to disseminate to wary employees. A teachable moment from a state with low vaccination rates that badly needs it.

If you need assistance sorting through religious or ADA vaccine exemption requests, we have a fixed fee solution: COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Request Analysis (rolls of the tongue!). Whatever your questions or issues, we can help.

*Shout out to Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer’s Blog for putting this on my radar.


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