A Santa Barbara County doctor who refuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 speaks out against the statewide requirement for health workers to provide proof of vaccination from September 30th.

Vaccine hesitation among medical professionals

The hematologist and oncologist Dr. Mark Abate is one of the few medical professionals remaining unvaccinated despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and despite the recent surge from the rapidly spreading delta variant.

“Personally, I am against the current vaccine and testing mandates that currently affect healthcare workers and professionals in the state of California. Personally, I am against any form of vaccination order or passport. I believe that they divide and do far more harm than good, ”he told the Independent on Wednesday.

An estimated 10% of health care workers in the county are still unvaccinated for a variety of reasons, and mandatory vaccination could prove to be a problem for them by the end of the month. They can be forced out of their jobs unless they get the vaccinations or find a way to get a medical or religious exception.

The people behind the mandates want to protect both the frontline staff and patients based solely on the scientific reports and government directives from the authorities that the vaccines are safe and effective in reducing the likelihood of a severe form of COVID-19 infection, as well in preventing hospitalizations and death.

COVID-19 vaccination exemptions

For Abate, who has practiced at Sansum Medical Clinic, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and Ridley-Tree Cancer Center for more than 33 years, he would rather be without vaccination because of his personal values ​​based on medical and religious reasons.

Abate made it clear that he is not an anti-Vaxxer. In fact, most of his family, friends, and co-workers have already been shot. In his opinion, it all boils down to giving each person the choice to either accept or decline the vaccines. “I wasn’t vaccinated the whole time and it was safe for me to practice. Now, after September 30th, it is suddenly no longer safe if I am not vaccinated, ”he added.

The cancer specialist is currently working to obtain a religious exemption so that he can continue to be reported to work. However, he admitted that even then, the system would be unfair to him and the other doctors who refuse to be vaccinated. According to the mandates, the unvaccinated health care workers are tested twice a week. A negative test would give them permission to continue working.

Abate said the facility would be a form of “discrimination” against the unvaccinated as anyone who received the vaccinations would not be tested on a regular basis. “If they’re really interested in safety, everyone should be tested,” he said.

Abate has two other options if he is not to be granted a religious exception. He said he plans to see a doctor if he’s denied the first one. If he is denied both, he will not be able to practice his profession anywhere in the country. And that would leave him no choice but to consider taking the matter to court.

Increase in religious vaccination exemptions

Amid vaccination regulations across the country, more and more people are securing religious exemptions just to avoid vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. According to AP News, about 2,600 Los Angeles police officers are using religious objections in an attempt to circumvent mandates.

Public health officials found that numerous people in the country sought refuge with the introduction of vaccination regulations. This is now the most frequently used loophole against vaccination programs.

Following US President Joe Biden’s new vaccination mandates, which affect millions of people who work for the government and other businesses, the demand for religious exemptions is expected to rise in the coming months. Others can also raise medical objections by citing certain medical conditions to refuse the vaccinations.

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