Fauci: Review finds ‘only a handful’ of religions actually oppose vaccines

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC/AP)— Religious exemptions have been on the rise since more vaccine mandates have been put in place in several places around the country, but now the nation’s top infectious disease doctor is raising concerns about those objections.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.

He says "a public health review" found only a handful of established religions that actually oppose vaccinations.

A federal judge in Utica issued a temporary restraining order on New York State’s vaccine mandate for health care industry workers extended the order to Oct. 12. The Catholic Church says it is "morally acceptable" to take the COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, roughly 300-400 workers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have claimed an exemption.

Fauci, however, admits it’s challenging for businesses to determine if an employee’s claimed religious exemption is just an excuse to bypass legal requirements.

He told CNN’s "State of the Union": "I would hope that people would understand that all of this is for their benefit, for the safety of themselves, their family and their societal responsibility."

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul recently told worshippers it was "God’s will" to get vaccinated. A lawyer argued before a federal appeals court that her comments could be encouraging hospitals and nursing homes to ignore the court orders on exemptions.