On Thursday, the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL) celebrated a victory concerning COVID vaccine exemptions, and no litigation was necessary.

A University of Alabama nursing student was first told she could not be exempt from the vaccine based on her religious beliefs. The third-party site, where she had clinicals, required the vaccine, and the university initially did not step in to assist her with her request.

However, ACLL's Matt Clark contacted the university on the student's behalf and was able to speak with them about the importance of the exemption. The university then approved the student's exemption request.

"We are grateful that the University of Alabama listened and decided to respect our client's religious rights the easy way," said Clark. "My hope is that if the University of Alabama, or any other colleges in the state run into similar issues they will do what the University of Alabama did and respect religious rights without the need for litigation." 

Clark said that Health & Human Services, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Alabama Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act all provide religious exemptions to the COVID shot. He also pointed out that the Alabama Attorney General's 2021 guidance states that colleges should assist students that wish for an exemption from a third-party site.

"My encouragement to colleges would be to look to Attorney General Steve Marshall's guidance and to assist their students in exercising their First Amendment rights," Clark stated.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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