Maine Mandate Regardless of Religion

Portia Yeboah

In late October of this year, Maine mandated that all healthcare workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of religious exemption. Maine only allows medical exemption in the refusal of the vaccine. According to the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), as of September, 70% of workers in healthcare are already vaccinated.

In a 6-3 vote, the supreme court upheld this by declining to block this mandate. This was brought to the court by nine healthcare workers who reject vaccination in loyalty to their faiths. Maine had required that all healthcare workers serving on the frontlines in the past year be vaccinated by October. By the end of the month, they were strictly enforcing it. Those who refuse to follow the mandate risk losing their jobs and practices.

On the state’s website, it says; “The health care immunization law has removed the allowance for philosophical and religious exemptions and has included influenza and COVID-19 vaccine as required immunizations.” 

Supporters speak on how frontline workers are critical to health and precautions such as these are necessary. It does not make sense to put so many others’ lives at risk for one’s beliefs. 

Dissenters say that the rule is a violation of individual liberties and morality in respecting religious practices. That protecting one’s faiths should not cost a person their job. 

This has been a common point of debate within the pandemic. Should individual rights and personal beliefs be put aside for the rest of the community? And who gets to make that decision, the person themself or political powers?