To Infect and Serve

Nearly 200 members of SFPD have applied for a religious exemption from the city's employee vaccine mandate, the highest number of waiver requests from any city department, by far.

In the 2,835-member police force, 366 employees are unvaccinated. Of the unvaccinated, 193 want religious exemptions and eight have requested medical exemptions. [...] The Department of Human Resources said 157 exemptions have been tentatively approved, but officials are still reviewing the requests. [...]

In total, the Department of Human Resources has received 296 religious exemption requests and 21 medical exemption requests from city employees. That includes 34 religious exemption requests from the Sheriff's Department, 16 from the Fire Department, six from the Department of Public Health, and one from Mayor London Breed's office. [...]

According to the Department of Human Resources, "those with a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits them from receiving a vaccine" may also request an exemption, although it did not specify which religions qualify.

The city's policy states that employees must fill out a form and "answer all relevant questions regarding the religious belief, practice or observance that prevents them from getting the COVID-19 vaccination." They may also be required to submit additional information such as letters from a religious leader, articles from religious scholars or excerpts from religious or sacred texts.

The department said it would review requests for accommodation on a case-by-case basis.

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