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Religious Belief Exception Educational Resources

If you have requested, or plan to request, an exception to University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy (available at https://policy.ucop.edu/doc/5000695/SARS-Cov-2) based on a religious objection, we would like to share the following information with you.

The resources are organized by issue.  Please scroll to find the issue(s) that are relevant to your beliefs.

Note that the FDA has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals ages 16 and older. Visit the FDA website here for more information.

While your request is pending, and if your request is granted, you must comply with non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g., masking, testing, quarantining) as set forth in the Policy, Section III.A.2 and FAQ 16.

American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) is proud to be a founding member of the national volunteer COVID-19 Community Corps, which encourages people to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to them.  You can read ABCUSA’s COVID-19 Information and Resources here: http://www.abc-usa.org/coronavirus/, and you can read more about the COVID-19 Community Corps here: https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/covidcommunitycorps

(Sinai, Finland, Estonia, Japan, China, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Ohrid). 

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is a diverse covenant community of 38 member communions and over 35 million individuals in 100,000 congregations, including Orthodox traditions.  NCC encourages churches to help their members get vaccinated against COVID-19.  You can read the NCC’s Resources on COVID-19 for Churches here: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/resources-on-covid-19-for-churches/

The Dalai Lama urges people to "have courage" and be vaccinated. You can see a video of His Holiness getting vaccinated and speaking about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=51ypzc5hqpc

Ven. Master Hsing Yun and Hsi Lai Temple (Buddha's Light International Organization) held a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic on April 6, 2021: http://www.hsilai.org/en/news/2021/04062021A.php

The chief high priest of Theravada Buddhism in Malaysia has advised all religious organizations to encourage their adherents to register for the COVID-19 vaccination and advise their adherents to show up at their vaccination appointments promptly so that the country can achieve herd immunity: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/05/25/buddhist-high-priest-advises-all-religious-bodies-to-encourage-adherents-to-get-covid-19-jabs

The Pope and senior clergy encourage everyone to get vaccinated in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=zY5rwTnJF0U

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the order of the Sovereign Pontiff Francis, stated that “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20201221_nota-vaccini-anticovid_en.html

The Christian Science Monitor published a Christian Science perspective on vaccines that states, “If we were to encounter a situation where vaccination was required, our compliance with the law wouldn’t need to compromise our reliance upon God.  New vaccines may have the prospect of altering the landscape of disease, but they can’t lead the way up and out of the material sense of life that is always producing new forms of disease.  To find true and lasting health, we need to see that life is actually in and of Spirit, not material at all.”  https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2021/0128/Vaccines-immunity-and-the-pathway-to-health

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stated that “the Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization.”  You can read the statement here:  https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/church-leaders-covid-19-vaccine

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) issued an Ethics Statement on Vaccines and Immunizations here: https://cmda.org/policy-issues-home/position-statements/ (scroll down to “Vaccines and Immunization”).  According to that statement, which addresses biblical, historical, medical, and ethical considerations, “Immunization benefits the health of both individuals and the broader community.”

For additional resources on biblical thinking about the COVID vaccine, visit www.christiansandthevaccine.com.  Christians & the Vaccine has “gathered as a coalition to provide information about the vaccine from trusted Christian voices” and “make[s] the case that Christians should take the vaccine.”

The Disciples of Christ provides information and resources about how to locate a vaccination site and how to promote and support vaccination efforts.  You can read an article on Disciples and COVID-19 here: https://disciples.org/dns/disciples-and-covid-19/

The Orthodox Observer published a statement signed by Archbishop Elpidophoros, Chairman, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Metropolitan Joseph, Vice-Chairman, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Archbishop Michael, Treasurer, Orthodox Church in America; Metropolitan Gregory, Secretary, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA; Bishop Irinej, Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central and South America; Metropolitan Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas; Metropolitan Joseph, Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia; Bishop Saba
Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church in North America; Metropolitan Tikhon, Orthodox Church in America: “[W]e affirm and assure you that it is neither wrong nor sinful to seek medical attention and advice. . . .  We therefore encourage all of you – the clergy and lay faithful of our Church – to consult your physicians in order to determine the appropriate course of action for you . . . .   If we work together – in a spirit of sincere compassion and care for one another – we will soon be able to gather together as a full community in our churches once again.”  https://www.goarch.org/-/vaccine-statement?inheritRedirect=true

The National Council of Churches (NCC) encourages churches to help their members get vaccinated against COVID-19.  The NCC is a diverse covenant community of 38 member communions and over 35 million individuals in 100,000 congregations, including Orthodox traditions.  You can read the NCC’s COVID-19 vaccine resources at: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/resources-on-covid-19-for-churches/

The second-most senior Orthodox bishop in the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, urged all people of Russia to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying their refusal to do so is akin to committing a sin:  Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/russian-orthodox-leader-says-refusing-vaccine-is-a-sin/14631

The Episcopal Church strongly encourages everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 using any approved vaccine.  You can read the Episcopal Church Toolkit for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution here: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/ministries/office-government-relations/covid-vaccine-toolkit/


The Reverend Walter Kim, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, which includes more than 45,000 churches from 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions, has encouraged people to be vaccinated. 

You can watch his video here: https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/trusted-voices-covid-19-vaccine-acceptance-reverend-walter-kim

You can read his article here: https://www.northjersey.com/story/opinion/2021/01/15/faith-community-can-host-covid-19-vaccine-sites-across-u-s/4167153001/

Kate Uesugi, the Communications Coordinator at the American Humanist Association, published an article in the magazine “The Humanist” on August 24, 2021, titled, “Why We Should End Religious Exemptions for Vaccines.”  https://thehumanist.com/commentary/why-we-should-end-religious-exemptions-for-vaccines/

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International, released a statement on February 12, 2021, urging the world to make vaccines available to everyone equitably and encouraging people to be vaccinated.  https://humanists.international/2021/02/humanists-internationals-statement-on-vaccines/

Anthony Cruz Pantojas, co-chair of the Latinx Humanist Alliance, an affiliate of the American Humanist Association, stated in an interview that, “It is almost an ethical or moral obligation, I would say, for freethinkers, humanists, heretics, and so forth [to support vaccination].”  https://ifyc.org/article/humanist-perspective-vaccination-ethical-obligation

The Humanist Society of New Mexico has resumed in-person meetings and “everyone who attends an in-person meeting must be fully immunized against COVID-19, and be able to show a vaccine record card if requested.  https://hs-nm.org/calendar/meetings/

The National Muslim Task Force on COVID-19 and the National Black Muslim COVID Coalition recommend “taking COVID-19 vaccines as directed by your physician or healthcare provider based on your risk and local public health authority guidance.”  https://isna.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Press-Release-NMCTF-COVID-Vaccines-12.22.2020.pdf

American Muslim Health Professionals has videos and other information on its website affirming that the vaccine is halal and encouraging people to be vaccinated: https://amhp.us/vaccine/

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, who received the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, termed the vaccine "a blessing from Allah" and advised all citizens to get the vaccination. https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/04-Jan-2021/a-blessing-from-allah-saudi-arabia-s-grand-mufti-receives-coronavirus-vaccine-video

The secretary general of the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa announced that the COVID-19 vaccine is halal and that taking the vaccines is a religious duty for all people living in Egypt.  https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2021-01-22/egypt-and-united-arab-emirates-covid-19-vaccine-ruled-permissible-under-islamic-law/ and https://perma.cc/4BG3-396E

The Fatwa Council of the United Arab Emirates issued a fatwa granting permission for the use of coronavirus vaccines in compliance with Sharia law.  https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2021-01-22/egypt-and-united-arab-emirates-covid-19-vaccine-ruled-permissible-under-islamic-law/ and https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/uae-covid-19-vaccine-fatwa-council-chief-gets-the-jab

In Southern California amid the pandemic, members of the Jain community have administered COVID-19 vaccines, as described in this LA Times article: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-02/jain-studies-finding-foothold-in-higher-education

According to JW.org, the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are not opposed to vaccination.  We view vaccination as a personal decision for each Christian to make. Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses choose to get vaccinated.”  You can read the full article here: https://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/jw-vaccines-immunization/

Nessah Synagogue (founded by Rabbi David Shofet; his father, Iran’s Chief Rabbi Hakham Yedidia Shofet, and the Iranian Jews of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills), which upholds the traditions and customs of Iranian Jews according to Orthodox, Sephardic Halacha, “strongly encourages anyone who is capable of being vaccinated and has not yet done so, to please get vaccinated as soon as possible.” https://www.nessah.org

Chief Rabbi Lau stated that “halachah (Jewish law) mandates that we inoculate against the virus” https://www.algemeiner.com/2021/02/26/get-vaccinated-now-the-torah-commands-it/ and told rabbis in the diaspora to encourage vaccination https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/chief-rabbi-lau-to-diaspora-rabbis-you-must-vaccinate-dangerous-not-to-652477

Senior rabbis called on Israeli Haredim to be vaccinated. https://www.ynetnews.com/article/Sk1XcZ63w

The Orthodox Union said “We salute our shuls and communities for their efforts in vaccine education and facilitation of appointments and vaccine access.” https://www.ou.org/covid19/ and https://www.ou.org/assets/Pesach-Guidance-5781b.pdf

The Rabbinical Council of America wrote that “the Torah obligation to preserve our lives and the lives of others requires us to vaccinate for COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine becomes available.” https://rabbis.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Guidance-re-Vaccines.pdf

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s Rabbinical Assembly ruled that “COVID-19 vaccines approved by government health agencies under emergency processes are considered to be refuot b’dukot, established treatments. With proper medical guidance, Jews are obligated to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/2021-01/Vaccination%20and%20Ethical%20Questions%20Posed%20by%20COVID-19%20Vaccines%20-%20Final.pdf

(Armenian Church of America, Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch)

The National Council of Churches (NCC) -- is a diverse covenant community of 38 member communions and over 35 million individuals in 100,000 congregations, including Orthodox traditions -- encourages churches to help their members get vaccinated against COVID-19.  You can read the NCC’s Resources on COVID-19 for Churches here: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/resources-on-covid-19-for-churches/

The Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, says, “I believe being vaccinated is an important step in ending the suffering of so many in our nation and world.”  (Please see article here: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/story/pcusa-leadership-takes-part-in-covid-19-vaccination-effort/)  The article describes the vaccination of the Rev. Dr. Moffitt and the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

(including AME, AMEZ, Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches USA, Amish, Anglican, Assemblies of God, Assyrian Church of the East, Church of the Brethren, CME, Community of Christ, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Ecumenical Catholic Communion, Episcopal, Hungarian Reformed, Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad, Lutheran, Mar Thoma, Mennonite, Moravian Church in America, National Baptist Convention, Presbyterian, Quaker, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed Church in America, Southern Baptist Convention, Unitarian-Universalist, United Church of Christ, United Methodist (not a complete list))

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is a diverse covenant community of 38 member communions and over 35 million individuals in 100,000 congregations, including Protestant traditions.  NCC encourages churches to help their members get vaccinated against COVID-19.  You can read the NCC’s Resources on COVID-19 for Churches here: http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/resources-on-covid-19-for-churches/

The official website of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church states: “The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being.  The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E. G. White (co-founder of the Church), and on peer-reviewed scientific literature.  As such, we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs.  We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of ‘herd immunity.’”  You can read that here: https://www.adventist.org/guidelines/immunization/?_ga=2.216490078.930293552.1630361315-574889890.1630361315.


The Seventh-day Adventist Church states specifically with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine: “As we witness the global magnitude of the pandemic, the deaths, disability, and long-term COVID-19 effects that are emerging in all age groups, we are encouraging our members to consider responsible immunization and the promotion and facilitation of the development of what is commonly termed herd immunity . . . .” You can read the full article here: https://adventist.news/news/covid-19-vaccines-addressing-concerns-offering-counsel?_ga=2.124083273.2134040195.1630084325-1679064913.1630084325

The Sikh Coalition has stated that it is committed to “helping every Sikh in the United States understand the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”  You can read the statement here: https://www.sikhcoalition.org/our-work/empowering-the-community/covid-19-vaccination-information/

It is our understanding that neither the Pfizer-BioNTech, the Moderna nor the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines contain animal products. You can read more about the ingredients in the vaccines at these websites:

There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems. Accordingly, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible individuals, including those who are pregnant or lactating, be vaccinated.  See University of California – Policy SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program, FAQ No. 8 (pages 10-11).

We have confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips.  Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement.” You can read more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html?s_cid=10506:covid%20vaccine%20change%20your%20dna:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21 (scroll to “Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?”).

We have confirmed that none of the three brands of the COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States includes thimerosal:

The United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine.  You can read more about the FDA’s approval here:


We have confirmed that none of the three brands of the COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States alters DNA: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html?s_cid=10506:covid%20vaccine%20change%20your%20dna:sem.ga:p:RG:GM:gen:PTN:FY21

The CDC advises that “you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19.”  You can read the CDC guidance here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html#:~:text=Yes%2C%20you%20should%20be,had%20COVID%2D19