We are almost halfway through the semester, and finally…

The university requires that everyone be vaccinated, as of 8 October.

All enrolled University of Minnesota students (whether taking courses in person or online) are now required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or provide documentation for a medical or religious exemption. Students received an email with the link to the UMN Student COVID-19 Vaccination Form in their University email on Friday afternoon, August 27. To meet this requirement, please submit the form electronically by Friday, October 8, 2021.

There’s that ridiculous “religious exemption,” though. If your god says you don’t need to take basic steps to protect the community, that means nothing in my godless state.

Better late and half-assed than never, I guess, although this feeble response is going on my list of reasons I have lost confidence in the University of Minnesota administration.


  1. Erp says

    I note Stanford requires for a religious exemption for students for vaccination (any of the required vaccinations not just Covid-19):

    a full and succinct explanation of the following points:
    •Your religious practices and beliefs emerge from a wider religious community as a part of its religious obligations. Practices that originate in one’s family of origin or local community are not accepted as religious in nature.
    •Your religious belief is deeply held and consistently guides and influences your life.
    •Sacred texts and religious authorities in your wider religious community indicate that immunization is prohibited. Your personal interpretation will not be considered sufficient.
    •You consider and address ethically the tension between your desire not to be immunized and your social obligation to participate in creating “herd immunity.”

    The request is evaluated by a panel. I’m not sure how many religious exemptions have been given (or rejected), but, this is a fairly tough hurdle.

  2. kingoftown says

    This kind of seems like the worst of both worlds. What happens to people that refuse, do they get their money back for tuition? Other expenses?

    I know everyone should get the vaccine but this seems like they’re breaching a contract midway through.

  3. bcw bcw says

    Does the policy require frequent testing for those who do get an exemption? Might as well keep the pressure on by making it difficult.

    For those citing fetal cell use, I like the approach of requiring an oath to swear off other drugs tested using fetal cell lines, such as: acetaminophen, albuterol, aspirin, ibuprofen, Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Tums, Lipitor, Senokot, Motrin, Maalox, Ex-Lax, Benadryl, Sudafed, Preparation H, Claritin, Prilosec, and Zoloft.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    The ones having a religious exemption shall be seated in the far back behind a plexiglass screen, while a man in a suit of armor at random intervals turns up and hits them in the face with a rubber chicken.
    As you may have heard, there is now a medicine in tablet form that significantly reduces the risks of serious disease if taken within the first five days of covid symptoms. But it will take a long time to ramp up production and young college students will not be high on the priority list.
    Nor should they be, unless they have conditions that make them extra vulnerable.
    Re. Defeating scary things.
    Sigourney Weawer has her birthday today, the 72nd of them.
    This has nothing to do with epidemiologi, but I think she is cool.
    (Also, her character wanted the crew of Nostromo to stick to the quarantine rules. Ash was the Trump of space.)

  5. whheydt says

    Re: bcw bcw @ #3…
    Out of that list, I will avoid albuterol with a will. That stuff can kill me (and almost did).

  6. BACONSQAUDgaming says

    That religious exemption has always puzzled me, as most religions are a lot older than vaccination. So how would, the Bible for example, have prohibitions against something that didn’t exist when it was written? I can understand Scientology having something against it, but otherwise it would take some imaginative interpretations of the religious text.

  7. dean56 says

    Western Michigan University here in Kalamazoo MI started the semester with several polices. One for athletes required student athletes to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to remain active members of an athletic team.

    Four women on the soccer team filed suit because WMU did not grant them religious exemptions from the vaccine requirement. Several others joined. A local judge put a restraining order on the rule, and just on 10/07 a district court sided with the students. They get to keep playing without having had a shot.

    Of course, we learned that they were completely up to date on every other vaccination.

    Now county governments in SW Michigan are debating restricting the ability of health officials to put mask orders — in fact, other health related orders — into place because the QOP in our state houses are threatening to withhold state funds for locations that pass such orders.

    The society reagan and his followers wanted is finally starting to set in: government by the dishonest, coddling stupidity through authoritarianism. It’s a libertarian’s dream.

  8. hillaryrettig1 says

    posting so there will be 2 Kalamazoo comments in a row! Fortunately, Kalamazoo College, where my partner works, has had a strict vaccine rule from the beginning of the semester, and people (including students) are also being very good about masks.

  9. says

    I’m pretty sure students cannot use a religious exemption specifically for COVID, at least thats true at the Twin Cities campus.

    @2 its not a breach of contract, because students were informed in August, October 8th is the deadline. PZ, be happy the main campus vaccination requirement doesn’t kick in until the start of the spring semester.

  10. says

    there should be no religious exemption for anything, ever.
    If your religion forbids you to do A, that is a requirement to do B for everyone else, you should choose what is more important for you, A or B.

  11. atomjz says

    As long as religious exemptions exist, then such “vaccine mandates” will literally change nothing. In short order, there will be conservative websites with template essays that cover all the required points. So they can go to the website, download the pre-written template, submit for exemption. The seemingly strict requirements can be gotten around with zero effort.

    Such a policy will not result in a single new vaccination, or even a single dropout. All the non-religious anti-vaxxers will just adopt a fake religious objection.