will I be fired if I refuse a Covid test, I didn’t get a thank-you after helping someone, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Will my employer fire me on the spot if I refuse to get a Covid test?

On September 13, the healthcare company I work for will begin requiring unvaccinated employees to get weekly Covid testing, at employee expense, with results to be submitted to your manager. I have submitted a vaccination exemption, which they have accepted, but I have no desire to test and also pay for it.

If I give two weeks notice on September 13 and don’t have the required test results, is it likely that they will terminate me on the spot? Or let me work out the two weeks?

I’d hope they’d terminate on the spot anyone who’s unvaccinated who also refuses to get tested, since you’d be explicitly saying that you’re not willing to take even minor steps to avoid infecting and potentially killing other people in your workplace. What a very odd stance for you to take.

Keep in mind that you’re likely to run into similar requirements to vaccinate or test at other employers, and rightly so.

2. Am I being petty about not getting a thank-you note after helping someone?

I recently had an informal informational interview with a young man who was referred to me by a colleague. The colleague in question is pretty big in our field and I was flattered that he thought of me as a resource for his student.

The interview was a very pleasant hour, I liked the young man, and as we were wrapping up I offered to connect him with a few potential contacts/opportunities. I’ll have to spend a little social capital for a few of the things I was thinking about, but not much, and our field is almost entirely relationship driven so I tend to view this as investing in a potential up and coming contact. Basically, I am happy to do it and have done similar things in the past.

The problem is that I haven’t gotten a thank-you note from him and am feeling a little miffed about it. I’m trying to figure out if I should let it go and still go the full mile out of respect for my colleague, or if I should do the bare minimum and not expend the capital I normally would (which feels a bit petty but also if he does the same to people I connect him to it might ding my reputation a little). Complicating this is that he’s a person of color and the field, like so many others, has been facing a real reckoning in the past year or so about how exclusionary it is, so I feel an ethical obligation to help him be successful.

At the end of our meeting, he asked me a quick question about the professionalism of some casual language he used in our email exchange, so the door might be open to me giving him a little professional advice, but I can’t figure out how to phrase “you should really be sending thank-yous” in a diplomatic and kind way. Any ideas about how I should move forward?

A lot of people were never taught they should send thank-you’s after this sort of meeting, especially if they’re newer to the world work. Don’t penalize him for not following every guideline in a playbook that he may not have been given. Do the same follow-up you’d already been planning to do, as a step toward leveling the playing field.

You have an easy opportunity to give him some guidance on thank-you notes though! When you contact him to connect him with others, you can say, “People early in their careers don’t always realize this so I wanted to mention it: Most people taking the time to meet with you will expect a thank-you note afterwards, and not sending them can make them think you didn’t appreciate their time. Let me know if you want any advice on writing them to Bob and Lucinda after you meet with them — I’d be happy help you figure out what to include if you want.”

3. My new hire is starting on my last day of work

I’m preparing to resign my position (for many reasons) and accept a great opportunity, thanks in large part to all your wonderful advice! However, we hired a new person who is supposed to report to me. The way things are shaking out, their first day will probably be my last day. I don’t have anyone else reporting to me. I know it’s my manager’s responsibility to make formal arrangements, but what do you think are my informal (like, just human) obligations? I want to be honest with the new person but not give them the list of grievances of why I’m leaving. And I want to set them up for success. How do you think I should break the news and what should I do in the interim?

If at all possible, tell the person now so they don’t get blindsided by the news on their first day. Contact them before they start, explain you’ve accepted another job and will be leaving, and let them know who’ll they be reporting to until your replacement is hired. Don’t get into your reasons for leaving. That’s not really appropriate; just let them know you accepted a great job somewhere else. And work closely with your boss to figure out how to ensure the new person’s first few weeks go smoothly; with you gone, there’s a risk they’ll be left to flounder unless some clear planning is done now to make sure that doesn’t happen.

4. Should I leave a religious mission off my resume?

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I served a volunteer “mission” for my church for 18 months between 2016-17. Without being overly religious, I have put this on my resume in a separate section (volunteer work) than my work experience to explain the gap in employment.

I am trying to relocate to another state which is located in the Bible Belt, which is notoriously rather hostile towards my religion. If I apply for jobs locally, I get a lot of callbacks and interviews but have had absolutely no luck with the jobs I’m applying for in the state I’m trying to move to. Is it possible that they see I’m a member of my church and immediately pass me over (it is on the bottom of my resume)? Would it be better to take it off now that it’s been a few years and my relevant work experience has happened after that anyway? To be honest, I would rather leave it off but I worry people would wonder why I have an 18-month gap in employment.

It’s possible. It’s more likely, though, that this is just about you not being a local candidate. In most fields (unless your work is very in-demand), it’s much harder to get interviews for jobs when you’re out-of-state, for all the reasons here. There are things you can do to help, like making the move sound like a done deal as much as possible (for example, naming a specific time frame by which you hope to be living there), putting your new location on your resume (like writing “relocating to Boston” directly below your address, or not including an address at all), and some of the other advice here. But out-of-state searches take longer.

That said, you could try experimenting with leaving your mission off your resume altogether and seeing if it changes anything. I know you want to explain the gap, but at least some people will think you’re touting it as work-like experience (which, given that missions are intended to proselytize, will be problematic).

Read an update to this letter here.

5. Withdrawing from an interview process after getting promoted

In the middle of my job search, I received a promotion at work. The promotion, of course, came with a salary raise. For one job in particular, for which I’m halfway through the interviewing process, this raise puts me at the midpoint of the salary range they advertised. I love my job and the people I work with, so I’m in no hurry to leave. I was only searching for more responsibility and more money. Given that, the top of this job’s range is now my new floor to leave my job. What do you think is the right thing to do here? Should I remove myself from consideration (since it’s not likely any job would offer the tippity top of their range)? And if so, do I tell them it’s really all about money and I just got a raise?

Do you want to remove yourself from consideration? If you’re now happy with your job and not interested in leaving for the money you think you’d be offered, it’s fine to just email and say, “I wanted to let you know that I’ve been promoted at my current company to a more senior role and am no longer searching for a new position, so I’m withdrawing from consideration for the X job. Thanks for your time in talking with me, and best of luck in making a hire.”

That said, if you’d still be open to leaving for the top of their range, there’s an argument for staying in the process and seeing it through. In that case, it could still make sense to update them so you’re not wasting your or their time — “I’ve just been promoted and my salary raised at my current company. I’m still interested in the X role, but I want to be transparent that I’d be looking at the top of your range in order to make a move. Is that prohibitive on your end or should we keep talking?”

{ 1,275 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Pinning this up top: In case anyone had any doubt where LW #1 stood, the hate-filled email he just sent me claiming Covid is not real and hardly kills anyone should put that to rest.

    1. ChemistryChick*

      Good grief. I wish I had something more than that, but at this point, these people leave me speechless and dumbfounded.

    2. jane's nemesis*

      Can you pin this to the top? There’s so much arguing upthread about how the LW must have a medical exemption, etc. Also, PS, what blog did he THINK he was asking that question on?

      1. Autumnheart*

        The blog where he thought he could walk in and be like “checkmate libs!”, like people who deliberately go into a store without a mask and then throw a tantrum for Tiktok.

        To paraphrase Inigo, I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          He probably thought he’d get a response he could post all over (insert social media) as a ‘see how oppressed I am!’ thing.

          What an absolute bellend.

        2. Stitch*

          There have been.something 4 like prominent covid denier radio hosts who have died of COVID in just the last month.

              1. ICan't*

                I have two patients today that aren’t just unvaccinated but are actively in the conspiracy camp (both would like to have ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine and don’t like Dr. Fauci). I have never been as resentful about taking care of patients as I am now. Unvaccinated is frustrating but this? I have to go into their active Covid rooms to take care of them. Put my health at risk for them. I honestly think there should only be so many beds allocated for people like this and when it is full of their cohort who think the same then they should have to stay home until a bed opens up. I have read too many articles about people dying from something they NEVER should have died for because these people are taking all the hospital beds.

                1. Josie*

                  TONS of those stories here in South Florida. There is a cop who needs a lung transplant from COVID and all I could think about was someone who has CF or something who REALLY needs a lung and now they will be competing with someone who should not even be there in the first place, had he gotten the vaccine. HUGS TO YOU and thank you for all that you do – it must be outrageously frustrating!

            1. Ugh*

              This. I can’t stand to be around people like this (thankfully I live outside the US, so most staunch anti-vaxxers around here keep it to themselves and I have no problem shutting down anyone who doesn’t). And this person works in HEALTH. CARE. Ugh.

              I have a close friend who is vaccine hesitant (she’s had past medical issues, hence the fear, but I am certain she has not talked to her doctor and also that the doctor would definitely say the risk of the complications she fears is exponentially higher if she stays unvaccinated and contracts COVID. She also won’t get any vaccine even though the complications she is trying to avoid are specific to Astra-Zeneca, which is no longer available where we live anyway). She was one of the few people I saw outdoors during the first year of the pandemic, and now I just can’t.

              All these people think they have the right to their own choice, without realizing they are taking away the choice of anyone who can’t get vaccinated (and leaving the rest of us to have to choose between the mental health impacts of keeping our kids home for another year – over a third of my 5yo’s life – or sending them to school where the risk of COVID is getting increasing and we have no way of knowing what the long-term impacts to them may be). Ughhhhh. Ughhhh!! I have both vaccines and will still put on a mask (or offer to if we’re outdoors and it’s a brief interaction) because it’s the decent thing to do – not everyone can choose to not be around you, LW. Your choice doesn’t just affect you. Your employer has given you two reasonable options; you don’t just get to decide you’d like to do neither.

              1. ADHSquirrelWhat*

                I feel it’s simple – people have the choice to ignore public health, yes – IF they also STAY OUT OF PUBLIC.

                If you’re going to be part of society, you have to DO YOUR PART to protect society! Otherwise, go live in the woods in a home you built yourself or something.

                There is a choice – but it isn’t “how do I get everything I want without any cost to me”.

                1. JelloStapler*

                  I agree but these people are usually ones who have also shown that their freedom to do whatever they want supersedes other people’s freedom, and will even try to restrict other’s freedom with issues they themselves don’tagree with.

                  “I want people to have the freedom to do what I think they should” essesntially.

            1. Teddyduchampssleepingbag*

              Sometimes I really wish this site had like buttons lol and reading your comment is one of those times.

                1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

                  Not really. I think that having to write out a response reduces clutter. But that’s me; I’m not on social media except (mostly passively) on LinkedIn either.
                  I’ll go back to my cave now.

                2. ceiswyn*

                  Actually, Kuddal Daddeldu, if you had more experience of social media you’d be aware that like buttons and upvotes tend to REDUCE clutter. Because if you like or agree with a post, you can just like it instead of having to write an unnecessary comment just to say ‘I agree’.

              1. Endorable*

                oh geez I didn’t want to sign up for another username but I guess I have to if I want to upvote… GIVE US UPVOTES ALREADY!

          1. wittyrepartee*

            I feel sorry for them and their families- but I hope that maybe in death they’re able to undo some of the harm they did in their last year of life.

        3. T2*

          I care as much about politics as the virus itself does. But, yeah I would have fired him on the spot without a moments hesitation.

          Get the shot or wear the mask, or be like me and do both. But stop whining about how a virus, which doesn’t care about your politics or who it hurts has inconvenienced you. It is people with that attitude who make this worse.

          I got a 5 year old niece, who if she gets sick with this will certainly die. Her condition is that serious. Poor thing has been isolated for 17 months, and will remain so until there is NO chance she gets the virus.

          Maybe she gets sick anyways. But at least it wont be because the rest of us were crying infants about it.

      2. Anonymous mouse*

        Was going to say, I was about to say something along the lines of “I understand that some people cannot have the vaccine and they shouldn’t be forced to pay themselves for the tests in lieu, but if they’re a Covid denier I have zero sympathy

        1. Ellie*

          Me too… but I do hope that’s the reason they won’t pay for it, and they wouldn’t fire someone who did have a medical exemption. My cousin’s in that boat – I’m not actually sure if they’ve been advised not to have the vaccination, or that it would just be useless since their cancer treatment would destroy any antibodies, but I immediately thought of them when I read this. It’s pretty hard to survive cancer, only to be denied employment as a result.

    3. WFH with Cat*


      I wish I could say I am surprised.

      So sorry you were the recipient of that abuse. Unfortunately, willful ignorance and hateful discourse are just about the only things these days more contagious than COVID.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        3 loved ones I’ll never see again definitely disagree as well.

        Side note: love and virtual hugs to anyone who has lost someone to this. Despite what the people crying ‘fake’ say our and your pain is real. Grieve however you like and I hope the painful memories are replaced with ones of happier times soon.

        1. Blue*

          Nothing more hateful than mocking and gas lighting people who are grieving and frightened. Both my cousin’s husband’s parents are in ICU right now with it – and they live in Texas and are constantly bombarded by this hateful shit. It’s horrifying.
          I’m so sorry about your friends, Keymaster.

        2. Bee Eye Ill*

          I have friends who claim to be Christian and routinely post anti-vax propaganda calling people “sheep” and the like. It’s quite aggravating.

          1. Sheep*

            My response to being called a sheep is Thank you! As a Christian, Jesus is my shepherd, I’m impressed you could recognize I am a member of his flock by just looking at me. Love everyone, and don’t judge anyone. Do everything you can to protect your neighbor. THAT is the Christian thing to do.
            — Sheep

            1. Despachito*

              Awesome response!

              I can see it is the same all around the globe – America or Europe, everywhere there are people using the same antivaxx and Anticovid “arguments”.

              COVID has been a major pain in the butt but on the other hand, in many countries we were quite privileged in the way it could be handled – the technology is so advanced many of us were able to WFH, kids could be schooled online, purchasing could be done online… it was tough but manageable, and I frankly do not understand those constantly whining about “lost generation” (of kids who did not go through war or a similar catastrophe, just had to study from their homes, warm and well fed), or about the awful inconvenience – gasp – that they had to WEAR A MASK, and blaming it all on governments, as if the virus was somehow invented by them.

              I was lucky enough my closest environment was reasonable in that, and it makes me simply mad that some people are not willing to take even the simplest measures to protect themselves and their environment, and instead are whining how THEY are forced to suffer. I find this extremely selfish, childish and stupid.

              1. Ugh*

                SO true! Sometimes I think about what all this would have looked like in the 80s or 90s and… it would have been brutal. So many people out of work, so much difficulty getting groceries and the like, kids just home with minimal school (at least fewer families had dual incomes..?). The only thing it would have going for it is that the anti-vaccine movement would potentially be less prevalent without the internet to coordinate conspiracy theories and protests.

                1. Despachito*


                  If I think twice about it ,there would have been possibly less opportunities for the disease to spread though – I’d say to travel by air and frequent traveling in general over the globe was much less available than it is now.

                  However, if it had happened in the eighties, I’d be most likely sitting behind the iron curtain, “protected” by the overall ban on traveling to the other side and by the very unfavourable exchange rate, and possibly by the overall imposition of the Government to get vaccinated under the threat of going to jail if you didn’t.

                  Could have been a bit more efficient than our system now when you are free not to get the jab and to voice stupid and selfish rants freely with no repercussions … but I somehow still prefer the relatively more dangerous freedom of today to the safer prison of then :-)

            2. Solana*

              Obviously your actions paint you so. Love others as I have loved you.

              signed, a fellow Christian who is masked and vaccinated and also loves sheep.

        3. Windchime*

          My loved one just passed away last weekend while in the ICU on a ventilator. She was (of course) unvaccinated. It was a senseless death; she was in her mid-60’s and had a lot of life left to live, grandchildren, etc. Senseless, and even though I’m angry that she was unvaccinated I am also devastated that she is gone.

      2. Carol the happy elf*

        OH, YES.
        Huge healthcare family here, we lost six before the vaccine came available, though one was Deaf in a care center and I swear she died of loneliness.

        My best friend’s brother died of septic pneumonia, secondary to Covid, which he got at work because his office-mate came in coughing last summer. (2020)
        She says that when she (health care herself) was allowed to go into his room to be with his body, they hadn’t completely prepped the room (They cleaned him up, and extubated him, but she had already been waiting in the parking lot; he coded 4 times!) she noticed the suction tanks on the wall behind him hadn’t been removed.
        She told the charge nurse that his wife and sons were coming asap, and pointed to the tanks. The nurse quickly covered them, then took them out of the room, but he told her that he wished the deniers could be forced to see the horrible contents that were suctioned out of the lungs of every Covid patient.

        So as someone in healthcare myself, and a cancer survivor, I spent last year terrified, and I don’t even work on the wards. I let my car sit in the sun with the windows closed, hoping the interior temp would get hot enough to kill things, and wishing I’d gone for a black leather interior.
        I parked as far from my entrance as possible, so as not to be in a crowd, and took the far stairwells.

        I bagged my own lunch, used a personal cooler, refused to use anything from the fridge, used metal straws (they can be flamed) and entered my home from the back mudroom instead of the regular door. Came in, stripped directly into the washer and dragged the mop with disinfectant behind me to the shower. Then dragged the mop back into the laundry room for my husband, who had been working in a hazmat suit with an air tank, but who did the same exact routine.

        Covid doesn’t scare me. It terrifies and enrages me. I would pay $100 a pop, and take the test daily if it could protect even the meanest drunk on the street.

        I am fully vaccinated, and we’re still tested regularly, because of my lab-rat husband’s work.

        At the start of this whole nightmare, he said it was going to be bigger than people can imagine, but that worldwide quarantining for a month could stop it in its tracks.

        OP, the copays for ONE WEEK’S hospitalization and medication will be more expensive than your cost for testing, and if you survive it and become a Long-hauler, you will have legions of problems, possibly for life.

        Imagine having a body too ravaged to support a pregnancy, or needing a lung transplant. Waiting for a new kidney, or just living on the edge of the cutoff. Or if you’re lucky, just brain fog and crushing exhaustion.
        Those cost, too. My husband’s coworker is early thirties, survived it, but is too exhausted for sex with his wife. He can’t even pick up their 25-lb toddler. Their cost for lawn mowing this year cost more than testing, because his wife had it, too, and she gets tired microwaving soup and making salad.

        Sorry this is so long, but since it’s not possible for you to have the vaccine –
        AND THERE ARE MANY, MANY VALID REASONS SOME PEOPLE CANNOT, BTW– take the tests, keep your job with every precaution, and let the price shake out.

        Good luck in good choices, always.

        1. tinybutfierce*

          I’m so incredibly sorry for your losses. Thank you and all your healthcare family so much for the work you’re doing.

      3. lailaaaaah*

        Sending so many hugs. A coworker of mine literally just got in today from a funeral for one of his friends, who died of COVID last week. The guy was in his fifties; a mutual friend of theirs is also in hospital, had to have an emergency caesarean and is now in an induced coma to try and keep her alive.

        But sure, it’s just the flu.

    4. Observer*


      Not surprised, though. It was pretty clear that this was not a medical exemption with affordability issues at play.

      1. Aerin*

        I feel like people who have legitimate medical exemptions, if they have any self-awareness, would be up front with “Yes, it’s an actual medical exemption from a real doctor.” (Although I haven’t heard of any actual contraindications for this vaccine other than a very small number of allergic reactions during trials. Even things that are normal vaccination hurdles like an egg allergy don’t apply with this one. There are some conditions/medications that make it ineffective, but they can still get the shot.)

          1. Frank Doyle*

            And that’s fine! But then presumably you’re masking and distancing when around other people, and are okay with getting tested regularly.

          2. Covid is real*

            But I doubt (or hope) you aren’t sending out hate-filled emails saying Covid isn’t real. And want everyone else who can to get vaxxed to protect. If you are doing 1 and don’t support 2, then I would question the word “doctor”.

          3. o rly*

            Is she telling you that you should NOT get vaccinated, or simply not telling you that you should? Is it possible that she assumes you’ll get vaccinated without her telling you to?

            And are you absolutely certain that she’s right? Have you asked her why you should not get vaccinated? Does her answer hold up?

            One of the people I work with didn’t bother to get vaccinated for the exact same reason that you’ve given — their doctor hadn’t told them to. (I live in a part of the country where there’s an incredible level of incompetence in the health care industry.)

            This co-worker then caught Covid Delta and exposed everyone in the office, including several immunocompromised people.

        1. SuperBB*

          There is a risk of anaphylaxis for people with a shellfish allergy. I know someone who had the reaction to the first dose, but had discussed the risk with her doctor and went prepared. But obviously. she can’t get a second dose. However, that means she is super extra cautious and doesn’t scream exemption or refuse to be tested.

          1. Gumby*

            I know someone who is allergic to something in the vaccines. His doctor is now considering whether to recommend that he get the vaccine in a hospital setting and just… deal with the reaction in order to be vaccinated. I have no idea how you weigh those two risks (nor “how” allergic he is, I don’t know that it is guaranteed anaphylaxis).

            1. Fact & Fiction*

              Yeah. It can be a hard calculation in that event. I nearly died twice to anaphylaxis years ago and carry epi-pens around because they ultimately diagnosed it as “idiopathic.” It’s hard to avoid something you don’t know to avoid! I don’t envy them having to decide which is the lesser of two evils for them.

            2. LDN Layabout*

              My friend’s colleague is a nurse with other health concerns, who had an allergic reaction to the first.

              Catching covid would be worse than anaphylaxis. So she had her second jab with a crash cart on hand.

              1. Lizard*

                I had a friend like this, but she was also allergic to one of the inactive ingredients in epi pens, so it was like, doubly exciting.

            3. Blackcat*

              “His doctor is now considering whether to recommend that he get the vaccine in a hospital setting and just… deal with the reaction in order to be vaccinated. I have no idea how you weigh those two risks (nor “how” allergic he is, I don’t know that it is guaranteed anaphylaxis).”

              That was how my doctor handled it. I got my COVID shot in the same room they use for allergy challenge tests. Those are rooms with all the stuff prepped for someone to go into anaphylaxis! It’s what they’re made for! And most hospitals have them.

              Having had COVID badly (but still not to the point of hospitalization) and having had multiple episodes of anaphylaxis, I chose potential anaphylaxis. Maybe I’ve just been lucky with my anaphylactic reactions, but I’ve never had one that wasn’t under control in an ER pretty quick. It feels AWFUL, don’t get me wrong. But the meds for it work well and quickly, and I’ve generally been back to myself within 48 hours once the epinephrine/steroid/benedryl combo hangover wears off. COVID debilitated me for 10 days, and left me with heart damage to boot.
              I didn’t have a reaction to the COVID shot, though.

          2. DarnTheMan*

            I had a family member who was one of the first people in our province to have an allergic reaction to the vaccine; her logic was she would rather find out she was allergic by getting vaccinated than risk dying of COVID because she didn’t.

        2. Mahkara*

          I’ve heard the same as well, which makes me pretty hesitant to buy any “oh, but I can’t get vaccinated” excuses.

          If you’re under 12, clearly you can’t be vaccinated. And the same goes if you had a severe allergic reaction to the 1st shot. But I haven’t heard of *any* other circumstances in which people aren’t being urged to vaccinated. (And this includes people like me who’ve had severe anaphalactic reactions to vaccines in the past.)

            1. fish*

              People on chemo fall squarely within the group of immuno-compromised people who are urged to get MORE vaccine (i.e. a booster shot)

              1. ShanShan*

                The issue is more that the vaccine not work when they get it. You need an immune system to get any benefit from a vaccine.

              2. Pennyworth*

                My friend who was undergoing chemo was advised by her cancer doctor to get vaccinated as soon as possible and bring forward her second shot. The only caveat was to get vaccinated during the breaks in her chem routine.

          1. WS*

            While you’re actively having chemo, you can’t have the shot (I have a relative in this position currently). You need to wait for a break in the chemo. Same goes for some people getting transplants or just recovering from transplants. But those reasons are time-limited.

          2. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            The consensus in the virology community here now seems to be that vaccinating school age kids with at least the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is, while off-label, reasonably safe and that the formal approval should happen fairly soon.
            A relative of a coworker just died of Covid. Less than 30 years old, healthy but unvaccinated (not by any fault of his; the vaccine is still not widely available in their country). Left a spouse and two young kids.

          3. Duckles*

            Adverse reactions aren’t that rare. I had a unexpected and unusual reaction to the first dose and had to go to four specialists for testing to try to figure out what had happened and if I had should get the second dose. I don’t think you can assume everyone who can’t get fully vaccinated is lying.

        3. desdemona*

          The one person I know who was eligible for a real medical exemption elected to get vaccinated to protect their immunocompromised child, after much discussion with their doctor. They DID deal with an adverse reaction (again due to their medical issues; the vaccine is very safe!), but said it was worth it for their child’s protection.

        4. Mike S*

          I know someone who can’t get intramuscular vaccines. He’s SOL until there’s a nasal vaccine. He also regularly posts rants on Facebook for people to get vaccinated, since he can’t.

        5. Endorable*

          I have to agree with you! I’m not an expert… just an avid reader… but from everything I’ve gathered immunocompromised people should be at the top of the list for the vaccines and boosters too! And the suggestion that anyone that is known for allergic reactions to any of the components should take the shot under medical supervision makes total sense. OK maybe you have to go to the hospital for the shot and not at the drive through clinic, but tough beans… go to the hospital! YOU are the most likely to die! Life has risks… getting out of bed is risky… staying in bed is risky… a plane might crash on you! Look at the facts… crunch the numbers… get the shot!

      2. The Rules are Made Up*

        Very clear. The options were get vaxxed or get tested routinely. A person who doesn’t want to/has an exception of doing the former, fine. A person who doesn’t want to do the former and also refuses to do the latter? Clear covid denier red flag and no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.

    5. Llama face!*

      Ohhhhhh. Well that settles it. Sorry you got that vitriol sent your way, Alison! And glad you’re not giving their crap the time of day.

    6. ceiswyn*

      This is not my surprised face. I guess… at least it’s satisfying to know your instincts were accurate?

      I’m sorry you had to receive that kind of mail, though :(

    7. mcfizzle*

      Good to know our instincts were spot-on. People with genuine medical exemptions do not have this guy’s attitude nor wording at all. I must say I am *really* wondering what exactly was in his email.

    8. sarahbear*

      I hope these unvaccinated folks realize that it’s highly unlikely they will qualify for unemployment when they get fired from a mandatory vaccination company…….

    9. bureaucratte*

      :-O I was wondering if you were going to get hate mail, but I didn’t think it’d be from the LW himself, given that you’ve written about COVID plenty before… I wonder what he was hoping for? A note from AAM to show to his boss saying he shouldn’t be fired?

      1. mcfizzle*

        I was thinking of the manager who wrote in and was shocked (SHOCKED!) because s/he thought Alison would just agree with *any* manager on whatever topic. That one was a hum-dinger.

          1. Teapot, Groomer of Llamas*

            There was also that great one where a manager was angry that their best employee quit on the spot because she couldn’t take a couple of hours (not even a whole day) off for her college graduation. The manager wanted Alison’s affirmation that the employee was unprofessional.

          2. Observer*

            The one who forced out a good employee because she “didn’t fit”. As in was “Older” (30s), was married with kid and was REALLY good at her job and very focused ON THE WORK.

          3. TrackingCookieMonster*

            Here’s the initial letter: https://www.askamanager.org/2017/07/is-the-work-environment-ive-created-on-my-team-too-exclusive.html

            Here’s the first update that has what mcfizzle was mentioning: https://www.askamanager.org/2017/08/update-is-the-work-environment-ive-created-on-my-team-too-exclusive.html

            Whenever you can pick your jaw up out of the basement from the first update, here’s the conclusion: https://www.askamanager.org/2017/10/update-is-the-work-environment-ive-created-on-my-team-too-exclusive-2.html

            1. EchoGirl*

              At least that OP turned out to really be just exceptionally clueless (as shown by the updates). This one though…I doubt they’ll ever get to a point of rethinking like that OP did.

        1. A Genuine Scientician*

          I’m reminded of the bizarre person who just assumed that *of course* we would all agree with their company’s idiotic stance that the employee born on Feb 29 only has a birthday every 4 years, and therefore it’s perfectly reasonable that they not get the paid day off for their birthday and gift certificate that literally every other employee gets at that company. And that the employee was somehow being unprofessional for disagreeing.

          1. Lance*

            Not only that, insisting that the employee wasn’t losing anything under this absurd policy.

            Because actual material benefits (gift card and day off) are apparently ‘nothing’.

          2. Storm in a teacup*

            Omg I remember they replied in the comments (maybe even sent an update) and would not budge on their view.
            Such a num-nut

      2. Stitch*

        Given Alison has written on COVID before and been very clear she’s no COVID denier, I dunno what she suspected.

        1. pope suburban*

          That type of person always seems to think that they are special, and will be magically granted any and every exception to any rule.

    10. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      What a thoroughly revolting person. I sincerely hope they isolate themselves from society until they get some sense.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Yup. If you think this is all a fraud and people aren’t actually dying and don’t want to take any measures against spreading disease to others you’re effectively saying you don’t want anything to do with society. Therefore please avoid society. Cabin in the woods, top of a mountain somewhere, whatever works for you.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                  ceiswyn: used to work just up the road from Slough, can confirm. Although I’ve also worked in Swindon and Coventry and Crewe so kinda torn on which is the worst :p

          1. Amazed*

            That sounds great in theory, and I’ve run into a couple folks who say things like “but muh medical freedom etc! but if it means I have to go off grid, so be it”, but isn’t that how we get mutations and variants?

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              If they stay away from the rest of humanity for the rest of their lives then it doesn’t matter how many variants they generate. Trees can’t catch human viruses :p

                1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

                  Your username has me thinking about how many people in the DA universe are like “we don’t need Grey Wardens”
                  …except there’s like, 80,000 hurlocks on your doorstep.
                  And we thought fantasy was unrealistic.

            2. Jesse*

              If they actually went off-grid, with no contact with the rest of society, I think that would be nearly as responsible as following the other public-health protocols like vaccination. It would potentially be an issue if they, say, needed medical care and had to be brought to a hospital, but even then, they would only be able to spread covid to themselves and other isolates in their off-grid settlement once they got back there.

          2. Beth*

            There was a news story about a hermit in the Czech republic who came OUT of the mountains to get vaccinated.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I was wondering when they were going to show up here spouting gibberish. I’m actually rather sad that Alison had to bear the brunt of their hate though – that can’t be pleasant.

        1. Lizzo*

          Would have much preferred that they show themselves in the comments so the rest of us can share in the fun of…dispensing a reality check?

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Cathartic yeah, but I think that might have had the potential to show a truly dark side of some of us so I’m actually kinda glad they didn’t.

            I might have said something that would end up getting me legitimately blocked from here.

    11. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Covid’s not real, and yet it hardly kills anyone…what a rational line of thought, OP, assuming you even gave actual thought to your stance.

      1. tinybutfierce*

        I thought the same thing. I can’t imagine the OP’s thinking went beyond “well, I don’t want to, so NAH”.

    12. Donkey Hotey*

      GAH. I am so sorry, Alison. I thought your response was quite well-mannered and even-handed. If dude wants to smack your good will, that shows his mettle, not yours.

    13. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      You should ask him which is it…not real or barely kills? Because I can’t argue unicorns aren’t real AND they only kill 2-3 people per year. I’m glad the health care field is self-purging dangerous people; it’s long past due.

      1. Doug Judy*

        Or the “it’s not real” but simultaneously “the government created it in a lab for mass extinction/population control”

        So…which is it? They are mutually exclusive.

        1. Observer*

          Reading this just made me realize why the someone had to come up with the theory that what’s really in the vaccine is radios that the government can use to track you.

          1. Pointy's in the North Tower*

            Yet they get so angry when you point out that their Facebook post says they’re at Chili’s in Boomtown and posting with an iPhone, so why would Bill Gates need to stab them with a needle to track them.

          2. DarnTheMan*

            I follow a military veteran on Tiktok who served several tours in Afghanistan; he’s mentioned several times in his videos that they were all chipped up the wazoo with tracking devices and base still routinely managed to lose them in the field, so the idea of someone being able to develop a microchip small enough to fit in an injection, but strong enough to report your every location is laughable.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              People who read Nextdoor can’t avoid seeing posts about “take the lost pet you found to the vet to have its microchip scanned and find their owner” yet will still post that the vaccine contains a tracking microchip. I guess Bill Gates is going to take us to the microchip scanning lab to verify who we are if he sees us around Seattle or something?

            2. lailaaaaah*

              I know a guy who was teetering on the edge of that ‘great reset’ vaccine nonsense, except that he works in IT and the idea that anyone could create tech that good, that specific and that straightforward to implement was what convinced him it was a load of garbage.

        2. Jennifer Strange*

          My husband’s uncle is a conspiracy theorist and once quit a job because he was required to get a flu shot and he believes those are used to weaken and kill poor people so the rich can reign supreme. First, I think the multitude of deaths of those who get the flu shot each year would raise suspicions. Second, as my husband likes to point out, how does it benefit the rich to kill the poor? Those are the people who do the jobs rich people don’t want to do.

          1. Velawciraptor*

            Not to mention, the rich don’t need to kill the poor to “reign supreme.”

            *gestures vaguely at the world around us*

          2. Pennyworth*

            I always giggle at the rich ‘killing off the poor’ and ‘depopulating the world’ – just how do they think the rich got to be (and stay) that way? Most of us are essential nutrients for the rich.

        3. Fact & Fiction*

          One of my favorite parts is where they never look at the statistic of politicians and government officials who they revere who have, you know, 100% vaccination rates. Just run around saying, “But they told me NOT to get vaccinated because REASONS!” Yeah…And yet they are themselves vaccinated because…SCIENCE!

          I was vaccinated against whooping cough as a child and yet…I GOT IT. It sucked so much. Yet I don’t run around saying “Vaccines don’t work!” because…SCIENCE! I researched how that stuff actually works and you better believe when I was up for a booster shot years later I got it.

    14. PersonPerson*

      I was going to say something about how if the OP is required to come into an office it would be somewhat reasonable for the employer to help pay for tests but… nevermind.

    15. ele4phant*

      I’m going to imagine even if the COVID tests were freely provided by his employer, he would still balk. Because it’s not cost that’s the issue here, tbh…

    16. Girasol*

      OP1’s stance is indeed odd but all too common, at least in the US. All the good arguments for masking, vaccinating, and distance go out the window if one assumes that covid is not real. The idea that a vax exemption exempts one from taking any steps at all for the welfare of those around them makes perfect sense if one assumes there never was any covid to begin with. There’s a pretty elaborate conspiracy theory to explain away news from the CDC (it’s fake) and hospitals (doctors pad their paychecks by diagnosing people with a fake disease). There’s a whole big tale about how the government made up the covid story to soften us up before taking our guns, bibles, wives, children, and “freedom.” That’s obviously ridiculous to me but surprisingly many people think that my view of reality is stupid. How can HR, hospitals, customer facing businesses, and local governments deal with protecting their people from believers in the “alternative reality” who are both outside and inside their organizations?

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Also the whole ‘fake’ thing would entail every country on the globe all deciding to go along with this.

        Countries can’t decide on anything aside from maybe battery sizes.

        1. Stitch*

          Or people like my Dad, who is a physician, to be in on it. My Dad’s the kind of doctor who wears stethoscopes and scrubs with cartoon characters on then to calm the kids down. He recites silly poems to kids while checking them out so they don’t freak out. Mind you, pediatricians like my Dad make almost all their money off of well visits and routine procedures. My Dad’s billings, as are most billings of hospitals and doctors, are way way down. Putting someone on a vent for two weeks might cost millions of dollars but no one actually pays it. My Dad was actually due to retire but he stayed on because he actually has special outbreak control training from his time as a Navy doctor.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Big thanks to your dad.
            My friend who is a nursing instructor had to go help out at the hospital because cases were so high in OldCity. I assumed they put her doing something away from the COVID ward since her husband is medically vulnerable.

        2. alienor*

          I’ve suggested that logic to people, and apparently the answer is that all the global elites are in on it together because something something Bill Gates. It’s exhausting.

            1. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

              No, the Bilderburg Group. Or the Tri-Lateral Commission. Or the Council on Foreign Relation. One of them or maybe all of them.

      2. Splendid Colors*

        Our county government made the rather stubborn and foolish decision to bring everyone back to the office at the beginning of August. Despite mask rules, testing, and fairly high vaccination rates, they’re having outbreaks (particularly in departments where families have to bring children to appointments) thanks to the high transmission rates of Delta variant.

        The Board of Supervisors considered a vaccine mandate. So of course everyone who doesn’t want to be vaccinated insists they belong to a religion that forbids vaccination and mandating that they get vaccinated (or be tested weekly) violates their freedom of religion. (I call BS on this because the religions that don’t want people to be vaccinated would also not want them to work for secular government offices.) And several departments have Change.org petitions demanding to have teleworking reinstated for any employee who was able to telework earlier in the pandemic.

        I don’t have an answer to the dilemma, but clearly it was too soon to bring everyone back and start seeing the public in person again.

      3. JelloStapler*

        And if it was bioterrorism, well we are just showing the world that it will … work… for a significant part of our population.

    17. Susana*

      Oh, Alison, I’m so sorry you were subject to that. I was actually just about to write a fan-note comment here. It’s natural to sympathize a bit with people who take the time to write in and ask for advice. But this LW really needed to be told the hard, life-or-death truth. Thank you for doing that.

    18. Speaks to Dragonflies*

      Well shoot…Now I want to read what this now confirmed dipwad wrote. Is it posted somewhere?

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        I think we can probably guess the highlights of the email:

        Starter: ‘how dare you speak to me like that’

        Main course: ‘blah blah you’re all sheep, nobody has died from it they were just fat or old’ with a side dish of ‘I have a right to a paid job I guess you want my family to starve for your scam’

        Dessert: ‘free speech’

        Recommend: a hefty dose of antacids if you try to swallow that :p

      1. Old Woman in Purple*

        Possibly akin to medical/health-field workers who use tobacco-products, when they more than average folks should know how bad it is for a body.

      2. Chickaletta*

        Yeah….I work for a healthcare organization that just instituted a vaccine mandate last week and we lost a few employees over it including nurses. Thankfully it’s a small amount so hasn’t impacted our operations, and we never want to lose employees (especially now), but… we’re in healthcare. We need people on board with health, science, and doing the right thing to protect the community. If someone chooses to believe conspiracy theories over science, then this is probably the time for them to seek employment in other industries that suit them better. Perhaps they can become a psychic or join an MLM.

        1. Llama face!*

          Psychic MLM? Does that exist yet? ;)

          So glad your organization did that. Thank you for caring for the safety of your staff and your community as you serve them. In my city today the antivaxxers- including some people claiming to be nurses and medical techs (but who refused to give their names to the reporter)- were protesting outside a hospital that is currently overwhelmed and desperately trying to save the lives of COVID patients inside that very building. And the protestors were blocking the way in and spitting on medical staff as they came out and vandalizing their vehicles. Because “mandatory vaccines”. Except we don’t even have mandatory vaccines or basically any government restrictions in our province despite being second or third highest new cases in the country and second lowest vaccination rate. Frankly I hope those protesting supposed medical workers get fired so hard it launches them into space.

        2. Windchime*

          My state (Washington) has a rule that all healthcare workers have to either be vaccinated or show medical exemption by the middle of October; anyone who is non-compliant will no longer be allowed to work in health care. Which makes sense to me as I work for a big hospital system. But an acquaintance who works for a dentist is preparing for mid-October when she will lose her job. She sees it as something unavoidable, since she isn’t going to get the shot and doesn’t qualify for an exemption. It doesn’t occur to her to just get the shot; she feels she shouldn’t have to if she doesn’t want to and that she will be unfairly out of work when that date arrives. It’s like she truly doesn’t understand that she can just get the vaccination. (She believes that everyone who got it will die from it within 5 years).

    19. Becca Rosselin-Metadi*

      I would have thought that anyone would read this site regularly would be well aware of your stance on Covid and protecting not only your own health but that of colleagues-but I guess not.

    20. TrackingCookieMonster*

      LW1: *Works in healthcare*
      *Gets told he should be fired from a healthcare job if he won’t participate in basic healthcare*
      LW1″ *Shocked Pikachu face*

    21. wittyrepartee*

      Ooo! Exciting update!
      Why did this person write to you? I’m so confused. What did they expect?

      1. Ex-Teacher*

        Clearly they wanted to have someone who carries authority validate their viewpoint. Of course, they didn’t count on Alison being a smart person who suffers no fools.

    22. I'm just here for the cats!*

      URRGG! This makes me so mad because I was thinking that his exemption was legit (like he’s allergic to the vaccine).

      No this guy is just huge asshat and doesn’t care about anyone else.

      BOO to him.! Boo to all people like him!

    23. Some dude*

      What bums me out about this, and the whole situation in this country is that he holds a position which is in opposition to reality, and anyone or anything that contradicts that position is immediately rejected as “Not True.” And fact that the majority of sources claim that COVID is real is just proof to them that there is a big conspiracy. I don’t understand how to crack that nut.

      1. ADHSquirrelWhat*

        That’s the problem with a closed worldview – everything fits the story, because the story has a nice big “all evidence to the contrary is a lie” hole to shove the ENTIRE WORLD into.

        There’s no room for science or reality when someone already “Knows the Truth” – doesn’t matter how far down the rabbit hole is.

    24. DJ*

      I must say that I really wish you’d touch on how requiring the waivered, unvaccinated to pay for testing would interplay with things like the ADA and religious civil rights policy/laws. I mean this guy may be a nut job but I’m sure there are others who are wondering such things. Not everyone can be vaccinated and it doesn’t seem fair to me to put the cost burden on them. Especially those with existing medical issues.

      1. annonie*

        I’m sure someone who has that question can submit it. These are short answers, she answered the question she was asked.

    25. T2*

      Yeah. I would like to tell 6 of my friends that COVID hardly kills anyone. I would like too, but I can’t, because all I can visit now is their very cold headstones.

      Screw him.

    26. DonnaNoblehasbeensaved*

      Figures, probably just made up the post to get a reaction and start a fight in the comments.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        A noted hotbed of Covid deniers just got banned off Reddit so maybe this guy decided to go find another forum to go stir up crud. Obviously didn’t read the page, Alison is never gonna allow antivaxx stuff here :)

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        Picked wrong page on at least two counts then! This is very well moderated for antivax nonsense.

    27. Phoenix Wright*

      I know you don’t want us to say anything unkind about LWs, but everything I can think about #1 is unkind. Although not as unkind as their mindset and actions, that’s for sure. It’s sad how much damage people like LW1 have caused, and will continue to cause.

      OP, you not only deserved to be fired for this, but you also deserve to not get any other job. No one should be put at risk because of your horrible and criminally negligent behavior.

    28. Elizabeth West*

      And to think I had a kind response all formulated about how OP 1’s coworkers probably don’t want to potentially see one of their colleagues come in at death’s door. But yeah, tossed that right out the window onto the highway in front of a semi-truck. :P

    29. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

      Good grief. I was ready to give them at least some benefit of the doubt and suggest they try to push for reimbursement from their employer, but now all I want their employer to give them is a boot out the door.

    30. Essential Worker*

      I work in health care and vaccination is mandatory, if you aren’t vaccinated then it’s out of pocket cost weekly testing. IDK if they will make an exception of the out of pocket costs for medical exemptions. The emails are getting increasingly specific and have moved from vague language to specific and threatening phrases like “up to and including termination.” It will be interesting to see what happens in October when we hit eight weeks past full federal approval, which is now the hard deadline. I got vaxxed in January as soon as I qualified to get in line and I submitted every form and all documentation when requested. This isn’t the hill I want to die on literally or metaphorically.

      1. Despachito*

        In my country, COVID tests were covered by your insurance – you could get up to 2 PCR tests and 4 antigen tests a month for free.

        That was before the vaccines were available to anybody. Now, when most people have the opportunity to be vaccinated, the insurance companies stopped paying for that, and limited payments only to kids below 12 who cannot be vaccinated, and those who had their first jab or had the second before less than 14 days.

        I think it is fair – if the state requires tests AND you were unable to get the jab because there was none/not enough vaccines were available/you were not eligible, it is only fair that the state pays for it.

        If you had the possibility and opportunity to get vaccinated, but chose not to – it is up to you to cough up the money, and very rightly so. The free testing for everyone is extremely costly, and while it is perfectly justifiable to pay for it when it is the only means to protect the entire population, it is no more so when it boils down to your personal preferences.

        “Not being a sheep” has its costs, and the rebels should willingly bear them. At least they do not get burned at a stake as in the past :-)

    31. Windchime*

      My cousin will be glad to hear that Covid is not real. Oh, wait–no, she won’t. She passed away last weekend in the ICU with Covid.

    32. Elizabeth S.*

      Well that sucks. I will say, I had to wait a bit to get my poke because of health issues, and in the midst of that I caught a cold and was required to pay for my own rapid test, which cost more than $30 dollars in my area. It was all good and I didn’t have COVID, but at the time I did feel bad for people who are being required to do this weekly at their own expense in situations where the vaccine is not an option for them. It’s a tough situation to be in and for many underpaid people in service work the costs of tests really are a burden.

    33. TexasTeacher*

      He needs to lose all medical licenses as well as his job. He should also be banned from any position of responsibility for vulnerable people.

    34. Ella*

      Not real, and yet “hardly” kills anyone. So admitting it does kill people, and is therefore real? God, pigs aren’t as ignorant.

    35. JelloStapler*

      I am happy to have him talk to two of my best friends who are Nurses and SEE how it kills people. I would also be happy not to have him as a colleague in a healthcare setting.

    36. Elm*

      Yikes. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt with the exemption as someone who has had to have medical exemptions for a required vaccine in the past (thankfully no longer!). I was even peeved that someone with a medical exemption might be required to pay! (I forgot that some places are doing “I don’t wanna” exemptions.)

      But…I have a feeling their termination may be less about the vaccine itself and more about professionalism based on the follow-up.

    37. Elle*

      Thank you for being blunt and clear that public health and not putting others at risk is important! Hopefully LW1 will make their stance clear to potential employers so that they know what to expect/don’t hire just to fire.

    1. Tim Tam Girl*

      It sounds to me like LW1 has a formal, approved exemption but don’t want to have to (or may not be able to afford to) pay for testing, especially if it has to happen frequently. I would appreciate Alison’s input on that possibility, given that medical exemptions from vaccinations often arise from other ongoing – and expensive – medical issues. In that case, I believe that the company should waive the testing fee; but it sounds like Alison disagrees and I don’t understand why.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        My job has this same requirement of anyone submitting for an exemption. The difference is that you are able to do the testing through employee health – just not while you are on shift. You can go before or after your shift (if those times line up with employee health’s hours), or during your unpaid lunch break. You can also come in on a day your are off work.

        Being honest, OP1 if you are in the medical field or even just medical adjacent this testing requirement is going to be extremely common. How the testing is being paid for is probably the only part that will vary.

      2. lazuli*

        My company is paying for testing fees, which I appreciate (I’m vaccinated but think we should accommodate medical issues), but I also think there’s a limit to “reasonable accommodations” at some point. I mean, if the company were the one pocketing the money for the tests, then yes, but presumably they’re paying for them. It’s also really not clear that the LW has a medical accommodation.

        1. wayward*

          One very good reason for the company to pay for testing is that they can be sure it actually gets done. An employee who’s willing to submit a sketchy exemption or one who’s financially strapped might try to submit fake results.

          1. Amethystmoon*

            That and people may just get fake Covid vaccine cards. Not that I agree with that practice, but it’s already happening.

              1. LunaLena*

                Yeah there’s been memes for a few days now of people pointing out that anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers are paying hundreds of dollars for fake cards, when they could just get a real one for free.

        2. lemon meringue*

          I would hope that the company would consider any accommodation they can make if the exemption is for medical reasons–letting the person work from home if possible, or paying for the tests themselves. But I’m guessing in some cases neither of these would be feasible.

      3. R*

        I think the wording the letter writer uses, when they say they have ‘no desire’ to pay for testing, gives the impression that they just can’t be bothered/have contempt towards the idea more than can’t afford it. Obviously we don’t know, but that’s definitely the vibe I got.

        1. Sue*

          My take is that if they had a legitimate medical reason, they would have said so. Much more likely to be a “religious” or “philosophical” exemption.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            Yeah – I have all the sympathy in the world for someone who can’t get vaccinated either for medical reasons or because they do not yet qualify. I have family members that can’t get their jabs yet – we are all still in masks to protect them. If testing isn’t free in your area and you medically can’t get the shots at this time – yes, I think something needs to be worked out. However, like Alison below, the wording in that letter just doesn’t sound like a medical exemption.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Also, the virus doesn’t care what your reason for not getting a shot is. You can be sympathetic as all heck or spouting your lizard people theories at anyone who doesn’t sprint away fast enough–the rules for testing should be the same.

              It would be nice if an employer provided the tests for someone who was sympathetic as all heck…. but I understand their not wanting to wade into that ruling. And I think, public healthwise, we’ve tried the carrot, now it’s time for “No one cares about your conspiracy theory du jour, these are the rules if you want to breathe on us. No, we’re not paying extra to cover you.”

              1. Cait*

                “No one cares about your conspiracy theory du jour, these are the rules if you want to breathe on us. No, we’re not paying extra to cover you.”

                Oh if only. I wish companies would adopt this way of thinking faster and ubiquitously. I think that’s the only way everyone who can be vaccinated will be. Not out of personal responsibility but personal inconvenience.

            2. quill*

              I presumed that there were tangents or identifying details stripped out that informed Allison’s response. I can still draw my own conclusions based on the tone, of course, and I think if there had been “I have a medical exemption because XYZ” Allison would have added a parenthetical about [LW states that they have medical reasons to remain unvaccinated.]

          2. Cranky lady*

            This was my assumption. Everyone I know with medical exemptions wishes they could get vaccinated and would willingly get tested. (Might not love paying for it but they already know that disabilities are expensive.)

            1. NotRealAnonForThis*


              Very Limited Example: I’m used to having to shell out for a fairly benign medical condition for one of my small humans (Epi-pens and special foods are not cheap, much less specialist visits, etc.) and I don’t think twice about sending enough safe food for a class party for EVERYONE on my dime. I’m used to having to pitch in for things that include group food that my child cannot safely consume, and where I’ll have to send safe food for my child, and I don’t b!tch or refuse to pay.

              I’m used to having to be a decent human and pitching in for the benefit of all.

            2. Aquawoman*

              I think if someone has a disability/medical reason not to get vaccinated, their employer should pay for the covid testing. “Disabilities are expensive” is a reason NOT to add another $1000/year to their tab, not a justification to add yet another disability-related expense. I know this probably doesn’t apply to this LW but I’m not down with dismissing the truly disabled because they happen to be in a Venn diagram with jerks that they’d rather not be in. It’s sort of like denying people pain management because other people abuse opioids. Not fair to punish someone for other people’s behavior.

              1. Spicy Tuna*

                100% this… my brother lives in an area with an out of control opioid epidemic. He was passing a kidney stone and couldn’t get an appointment with the ultrasound machine to break it up for 10 days. His doctor refused to write him a scrip for pain relief because he thought my brother would sell the pills, despite the fact that my brother was legitimately in agony and had no history of opioid abuse (no history of any medical issues at all in fact). My brother was in agony for nearly a week until the ultrasound center fortunately had a cancellation and could take him.

                1. Jesse*

                  That is horrible, and I wish that doctor would realize that their job is to treat patients, not prevent pill-selling and opioid abuse. We have at least three other parties who are supposed to prevent that – let them handle it.

              2. Michelle*

                I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but your comment about opioids comes off as sort of victim-blaming. The problem is less “some people abuse them,” and more “they’re so addictive that people who are prescribed opioids for legitimate reasons sometimes have a difficult time stopping when they should.” It still sucks when you have real pain and doctors are hesitant to prescribe a medication that would help, but that’s because there is a legitimate concern that doing so could have serious consequences for you, not because of “other people’s bad behavior.”

                1. JB*

                  If opiates were restricted for the reason you describe, then people who are on end-of-life care or who have life-long disabilities that require pain management wouldn’t have trouble getting them, since potential addiction wouldn’t be a problem. But they have just as much difficulty getting pain medication as the rest of the population – sometimes more.

                  The issue is not genuine concern for the person taking the opiates. It’s also not ‘other people’s bad behavior’. It’s the stigma that’s been assigned to opiates and people who use them, the moral panic that leads to people describing an area as having an ‘opiate epidemic’ or describing people struggling with addiction as exhibiting ‘bad behavior’ (or being ‘drug seekers’ – love that one).

                  For anyone reading this comment and thinking ‘but opiates are bad. Opiate addiction is on the rise, and people are suffering from overdoses. How is it not an epidemic?’ – I suggest you read up on the history of opiate use and treatment in the US. People have always used opiates in this country, they didn’t start dying from it until we started treating them like criminals for having an addiction.

                2. Aquawoman*

                  I appreciate the comment. I’m not sure about your characterization about the genesis of opioid addiction, but I also don’t think it’s bad behavior (and did not say “bad”). But there probably was some bias/privilege in my statement. I do, however, think that people who need pain relief are to some extent being denied pain relief because people are trying to solve a problem that is unrelated to them individually.

                3. Risha*

                  The last studies I saw (and it’s been a while, so no links) said that abuse and addiction to opioids by those who are genuinely in enough pain to warrant their usage is almost non-existent. I’m not going to say that no one who gets a short term rx because of some dental surgery has ever ended up with a problem, but it’s generally treated these days as something very likely to happen rather than something very unlikely to happen. That’s the moral panic part.

                4. Jesse*

                  That is a legitimate concern, but it’s one that can be handled when the immediate problem of extreme, terrible pain is no longer at hand. And patients have agency – they can weigh the risk of potential addiction versus what they’re experiencing in the moment.

                  And, as the other commenters said, accidental addictions are a rare occurrence that should never stand in the way of adequate pain management.

                5. usually anon*

                  My partner waited in the ER for 6 hours with a stab wound from an oyster knife entirely through her hand. We were read the riot act (and treated like scum) about pain meds and not given anything, even while they forced ‘cleaning fluids’ through the wound for 30 minutes.

              3. EchoGirl*

                I agree with this. I think in the event of a legitimate medical exception, part of a reasonable accommodation would be the employer paying the costs for the person to get tested, in the same way that they’d be expected to pay for things like an ergonomic chair or wheelchair-friendly desk or what have you. If it’s a person who’s just refusing to get vaccinated, then I think it’s completely fair for employers to make the employee pay for it. Based on Alison’s pinned comment, though, it seems pretty clear that OP is the latter, so I think it is fair in that case for OP to shoulder the cost.

          3. Edwina*

            Right, I thought the same thing. I have a good friend with serious allergies and her doctor advised her to hold off on the vaccine; so she masks up, tests constantly, and is super aware of the risks to herself and to others. If you ask her about the vaccine, she is extremely apologetic and explains exactly why she can’t get the vaccine. Instead, LW made vague reference to an “exception” and then is complaining about having to get tested. I REALLY liked Alison’s brisk answer.

          4. Richard Hershberger*

            Yup. I would expect anyone with a real medical reason would be eager to make clear that they aren’t a petulant toddler.

            1. JB*

              And eager to support testing mandates – since they’d be one of the most at-risk if someone came in sick.

              It would be one thing if they said they can’t afford to pay and asked about how to address that. They just don’t want to be tested at all, which sounds like they don’t see a reason for it.

              1. Researcher*

                EXACTLY THIS.
                Those with legitimate contraindications for vaccination are typically the ones taking the most precautions.

            2. Web of Pies*

              But I mean HOW is he supposed to know which Real Medical Reason to choo…oh what’s that? He works in healthcare?

              Cool cool cool.

            3. Anonomatopoeia*

              So, okay, this individual letter writer is a jerk and should be shunned (well under way; good.).

              However, I also think that it is none of my business exactly why random person I interact with can’t get the shot. I know a person for whom there was a weird and extremely frightening medical event in the days following childhood vaccines which didn’t resolve for months, and which happened on two different occasions. It wasn’t an allergy in the sense of anaphylaxis, and in fact it’s hard to prove it was a vaccine reaction at all because it was merely, this bad bad thing happened in the subsequent few days, twice, and we don’t know why. This person does not do vaccines. I understand why. I do not thing this person should have to describe this series of events to all and sundry.

              So. If someone says they cannot get the shot for medical reasons, I’m inclined to respect their privacy on the topic. I also do want them to test often; I also think that social responsibility means we all pay for everyone’s tests and shots (tax dollars), regardless of how many, how often, or why. But I mean, I also don’t care if someone is a petulant toddler about the shots or the tests, either. They can whine and require a cookie and a nap and a sticker, and I am okay with that as long as they do the thing. I will buy the cookies.

              1. teapot analytics manager*

                I can tell who has a legitimate reason not to be vaccinated very easily without asking any direct questions:

                – Everyone I know who can’t get the shot for legitimate reasons is being extremely careful.
                – Everyone I know who is making up culture war reasons not to get the shot are out running around with their nose and mouth breathing fumes all over everyone.

          5. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

            Agreed- This one seems to be all about the wording, so based on the words and term the LW used it doesn’t look great. The “I have submitted a vaccination exemption” is not “I am medically exempt”. Combined with R’s point above you about the wording, it doesn’t paint a great picture unfortunately. “No desire to” is very different than “Can’t afford”.

          6. Zennish*

            Yep, this. I keep wondering why my philosophical opposition to breathing other’s Covid tainted exhaust doesn’t seem to carry as much weight.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, this is very much the wording of someone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated, and I would bet a lot of money that that exemption is based on bullshit. If I’m wrong, I apologize, but really … a lot of money.

          1. Emily*

            “I would bet a lot of money that that exemption is based on bullshit.” Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! I agree that if OP # 1 had an actual legitimate medical exemption they would have said so. The wording of OP 1’s letter strikes me very much as “I found a shady way to get an exemption, but now I don’t want to get tested either.” Frankly it seems like OP thinks the rules shouldn’t have to apply to them. Hats off to OP’s employer for making sure everyone is held accountable.

          2. Aphrodite*

            I agree. I’ll toss my first million into that same bet. I turned in a co-worker yesterday for violating our safety regulations. And I’d do it again.

            1. Emily*

              Good for you! My friend’s employer just fired someone who came into work after testing positive for COVID (the employer is fully supporting working ftom home, so the person could have just worked from home, it’s not excusable either way but still.) Employers need to take a zero tolerance stance when dealing with this kind of thing.

              1. tangerineRose*

                “My friend’s employer just fired someone who came into work after testing positive for COVID (the employer is fully supporting working from home, so the person could have just worked from home”

                Good. I like that employer. I don’t understand why someone who tested positive for COVID and can work from home would come into work. Maybe a COVID denier?

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  A denier or simply a sociopath who prefers coming into the office. Then again, the Venn diagram of deniers and sociopaths have so much overlap that the distinction is not all that meaningful.

                2. Liz*

                  I agree. Good for the employer. And probably a denier. I don’t get it either. I am slowly transitioning back to the office but if i had ANY symptoms of anything, i’d stay home, monitor, and get tested if I thought i needed to.

                3. KRM*

                  We just had someone COVID + come into the office one day but 1-they were asyptomatic, 2-they hadn’t gotten their test results yet (we test weekly for everyone, even though 100% of the office is vaccinated), and once they got the results, they informed HR and left. So it can happen, although I’m guessing this scenario is pretty rare overall.

                4. Green Beans*

                  We’ve had a handful of those at my workplace (people coming in before they know they’re positive.) But there’s been no community spread, because we have good COVID-19 prevention measures in place and enforced.

                5. It's Growing!*

                  You’ve read about the teacher at a Catholic school in CA who came to school not feeling well, eventually had a test, but still came to school while awaiting results? Then more than half her 2nd grade class got sick, plus relatives and friends of the children, adding up to 27 people sick because of her. Tell me why the school allowed her on campus without a vaccine, especially since there was no reason for her not to have been vaccinated at least two months before. She wasn’t fired, she’s still there. Parents are unhappy to say the least. I have zero sympathy for those who show such disregard for others.

                6. Observer*

                  Tell me why the school allowed her on campus without a vaccine

                  If my experience is anything to go by, the school makes it extremely difficult for teachers to take off. And even if the OFFICIAL policy is to stay home, in real life what happens when a teacher call sin sick is “Are you SURE?” and “Well, either you come in or find a substitute yourself”.

                  Not excusing the teacher – she should have been vaccinated. But I’m betting that her coming in was in full compliance with the school’s ACTUAL vs written policies.

                7. Kit*

                  > But I’m betting that her coming in was in full compliance with the school’s ACTUAL vs written policies.

                  Her reading aloud to the class without wearing a mask wasn’t, and that’s how it started. Every child in the front row tested positive, because their plague vector of a teacher was talking at them while taking no precautions to protect her students (who were too young to be vaccinated).

                  I’m sympathetic to the demands placed on teachers, but this was a case of such wilful disregard for the students’ well-being that I don’t have it in me to muster excuses.

                8. Observer*

                  I don’t have it in me to muster excuses.

                  I wasn’t excusing it – she should have been vaccinated. And failing that, she should have put on a mask.

                  But I don’t believe that the school has been requiring masks, regardless of what the actual written policies are. That’s why she hasn’t bee fired.

              2. albe*

                Good! Now that whole workplace has to test and isolate for 14 days, their families have to test and isolate for 14 days, the kids can’t go to school, anyone that lives in an apartment with shared lifts etc can’t even take the rubbish out for 14 days. And anyone the workmates or their family came into contact with has to go test and isolate until it’s negative, too.

                That’s incredibly expensive and dangerous and just plain annoying. That should be a fireable offence.

                1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

                  The CDC is currently only recommending masking indoors and testing after 3-5 days for vaccinated people with a high risk COVID exposure. Nothing for secondary contacts (kids in their household) unless the exposed person becomes positive. It’s still sucky but your scenario is out of date and more extreme than current guidelines.

                2. Hazel*

                  Reply to Cheesecake in Paradise: I think albe is not in the U.S., and I assume that, unfortunately, the 14 day restrictions are still needed in other parts of the world.

                  Wait, or are you saying that the CDC has found that 14 days isn’t (and wasn’t)
                  necessary due to how COVID spreads in all situations?

                3. Albe*

                  Ahhh, different countries. I’m Australian. Here, even one minute in a shop at the same time as someone who subsequently tests positive must test and isolate, plus all household contacts, plus THEIR household and work contacts. And the army checks up to make sure you’re isolating.

                  Entire apartment blocks get locked down for one case, because there’s a chance you’ll have crossed paths in a foyer or something.

                4. Albe*

                  (I mean, the shop example is pretty theoretical – the only retail open are supermarkets but you get the vibe)

                5. COBOL Dinosaur*

                  At my workplace they don’t even notify you that you were exposed to someone unless you ‘worked with that person in close contact for 10 minutes’ I believe it is! We do have a mask mandate for everyone regardless of vaccination status though.

                6. anonymath*

                  Cheesesteak in Paradise, I’m betting that albe (who used the word “lifts” and “rubbish”) is not following CDC guidelines, given that the CDC is not a worldwide organization. It’s great to remember that different localities have different approaches and different laws and regulations.

          3. Speaks to Dragonflies*

            It seems that it comes down the reason for the exemption. Unless OP 1 comes in and explains the reason, we can only guess.
            I dont know how much a test costs, but I just went through this. Job called Monday night saying I’ve been exposed and need to be tested. Tuesday, got tested, and got the results Thursday. It took a total of 4 hours just to get tested, then 3 days for results. If I had to do this on a weekly basis, it wouldnt be sustainable. This is just what my place of workship requires. Others may be more or less stringent.
            Anyway, until we know for sure the reason for the exemption, may be better to hold back the torches and pitchforks?

            1. Paul Pearson*

              In the UK we have PCF tests which you have to send off, but we also have lateral flow tests which are being used in schools and work places when you need repeat testing. They’re less accurate but you can do them yourself and they take about 30 mins

              1. CJ*

                The rapid tests have an accuracy rate of just 58% in asymptomatic people. If you have symptoms, the accuracy goes up to 80% but that’s still pretty dismal. I have a friend who directs an infectious disease lab and she and her colleagues are begging people to stop using the rapid tests.

                1. MsSolo (UK)*

                  It’s about getting at least some of the infectious people out of circulation as quickly as possible – if at least 58% of infectious people aren’t unknowingly infecting people, that pulls the R0 down regardless of the ones who are missed. You can’t use lateral flow for holidays or events, because they’re not reliable enough, but everyone who works in a public facing role or is attending school/college is encouraged to take a lateral flow twice a week to get the asymptotic carriers out circulation as quickly as possible. Lateral flow are also free – PCR is free if you’re symptomatic, but if you’re testing to prove you’re negative you have to pay (and prices vary wildly).

                2. Astor*

                  Yeah, the rapid tests are useful, but a negative doesn’t tell you anything! If it does tell you that you’re positive, 99% of the time it’s right. But a negative doesn’t mean you’re negative!!! I wish they instead called the results “positive” and “inconclusive”.

                  It can also be useful for watching outbreaks. If you catch people with a covid result in your workplace or event, you should assume there are more people that you didn’t catch and close up and/or increase your protections accordingly.

                3. madge*

                  I had to get a rapid test this week (thanks, unvaccinated and unmasked coworkers). They were very clear that the first test result could be a false negative and I was not cleared until result #2 came back 24 hours later (both negative). I actually didn’t realize that people were using result #1 alone – frightening!

            2. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

              So it’s okay for someone to not get vaccinated from a deadly, very contagious disease and also refuse to get tested as a precaution not to spread said deadly, very contagious disease because it would be too inconvenient for them? Ummmmm….

                1. MandyDan*

                  Agreed. The reason for getting the vaccine is so you hopefully don’t get sick. If you can’t (or won’t) get it, you’ve now got a greater chance of getting sick with COVID-19 so requiring testing makes complete sense.

              1. Speaks to Dragonflies*

                Ummmmm…. If they have a valid reason for the exemption and the cost of the test is going to a hardship, then the employer requiring it should be paying for it. On other posts, I’ve seen others mention the price of tests being between $12 to $150. Some areas are free. As far as I know, OP has not been on to comment on what the exemption is nor what the out of pocket for them will be. I have no problem with vaccine or testing mandates from employers, but don’t put the cost on someone who can’t take the vaccine. Also, if they are like my employer, if you know you’ve been exposed, you must get the PNR( I think…None of the rapid result tests are acceptable) test and have negative results before returning to work,vaccine or not. The time away is taken from your PTO.

                1. RabbitRabbit*

                  They might well be paying for it. I know we’re supposed to take the LW’s word on things but other people in this thread have mentioned employees at their own companies not understanding that testing is paid for.

                  Similarly, LW1 needs to ask their own company about their policy on firing for non-compliance. Only their bosses would know if they would be allowed to be in non-compliance and working (or at least paid) for another two weeks – and generally, actual firings for most any reason do not allow for a grace period of work to continue.

                2. Me*

                  They have “no desire” to test. As in they just can’t be bothered. Not that it’s expensive. Not that it’s a huge hours long ordeal.

                  The pitchforks are out for a reason. The OP’s chosen language says a lot.

                3. Mina, The Company Prom Queen*

                  Ummmmm…It doesn’t matter why someone is unvaccinated and won’t get tested for a potentially deadly and very contagious virus. I don’t want those people anywhere near me. People who truly have a good reason not to get vaccinated will take responsibility to wear a mask, social distance, and find a way to get tested on a regular basis is asked to. They would also make arrangements to work from home or find a way to keep any potential exposure to others to a minimum.

                4. Donkey Hotey*

                  Let’s define “valid reason.”
                  – I will die if I get the shot. Valid.
                  – My invisible friend in the sky will keep me safe. Not valid.
                  This letter has the air of “I can’t be bothered, so I’m taking the only loophole they’ll allow.”

                5. Autumn*

                  The LW indicated that they were expected to pay for the test. That’s the only sympathy I have.

                  All other things seem to be pointing at a covidiot.

                6. Speaks to Dragonflies*

                  To Mina… This all a moot point now that it has been confirmed that the O.P is a dumbarse, but making someone pay out of pocket every week for a test when they can’t get the vaccine because they have a valid ( and that would be defined in some law book somewhere.) is punitive. I never said they shouldn’t wear a mask. Never said they shouldn’t isolate or better yet work from home.If they can work from home, that solves the problem all together. I had to take several vaccines to work where I do, but I didn’t have to pay out of pocket for it. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make.If the employer mandates it, they should pay for it if there’s no other workaround, be it work from home, a vaccine, isolation or whatever.

            3. Akcipitrokulo*

              I don’t think the reason mattera in respect of whether compny should pay.

              Company accepted exemption reason as valid.

              So they should pay for test.

              If they don’t think it’s valid, they shouldn’t accept the exemption.

              1. It's Growing!*

                Unfortunately, I don’t think that the reason can matter. An employer is diving into shark infested waters if she says, “Since you have an allergy to polyethylene glycol (a component of the vaccine), we’ll pay for your testing. We won’t pay for Bob who has a hokey letter from Pastor Jim saying it’s against their religion. We know Pastor Bob got his divinity certificate on the internet for $25 and that you paid him $50 for this letter, so we declare your religious exemption invalid for the purpose of us paying for your testing.” Can you imagine the lawsuits? An employer can’t even make a judgement on which medical exemptions are valid and which are fraudulent. Some doctors with strong political feelings have been caught having a stack of exemptions ready to go on the front counter, just come by and pick one up.

              2. Lady Meyneth*

                I very strongly disagree. In my country, there are a lot of BS reasons to get exempt, and each one is clearly listed on the exemption. Most companies I’m aware of are paying for and covering PTO for people with medical exemptions get tested. They are absolutely not doing so for any other reason, since their strong preferance is for people to get freaking vaxxed.

                Most insurances here are also doing the same. If your doctor signs off that you can’t get a jab, they’ll cover COVID related stuff, but if you are eligible and have a BS exemption, your copay goes straight through the roof. And I say good job!

            4. quill*

              When I tested at work it was the rapid test. Company paid for, on site, paid time for 15 minute appointment, learned about the results the same day. Of course, we were healthcare adjacent and NOT playing around in any way.

            5. Lego Leia*

              If this person didn’t work in ~healthcare~, I don’t think that there would be as many pitchforks. Working in healthcare, and not vaccinated AND refusing the work policy of weekly testing?!?!!? Yes, you are going to be fired, and have a hard time finding a new job.

              1. Velawciraptor*

                Totally missed that they work in HEALTHCARE. Yeah, that makes it worse. Not that I had sympathy before, but this makes the attitude unforgivable.

          4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            Reading your reply to this letter, your comments, how you’ve been a stalwart in these very difficult times…

            …put it this way, if you ever want a donation given to a charity of your choice, or a patreon amount or similar let me know.

            Because I’m in tears of gratitude that you exist.

              1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                sanity saving

                No word of a lie – this site has helped me enormously in getting back to a mental level of operation after losing my sanity last year. It’s just…validating to be somewhere where I’m not going to get bombarded with covidiot stuff.

                1. quill*

                  It is so helpful to have someplace on the internet where people who are at least reality-adjacent about the state of the world can gather without being under siege every minute.

                  +100 to Allison’s moderation.

          5. Caroline Bowman*

            Yes, this.

            I am a hardline atheist and pro-vaxxer (for anyone who can safely do so), and I’m aware I need to maintain respect and understanding for religious views specifically, without reservation. However, when someone says ”I can’t” do X or Y (that affects others in some way), my immediate thought is ”no, you *can*, but you have made a conscious decision not to. That’s not the same thing.”.

            That aside – and of course this may not be remotely a religious exemption at all – if there were a specific medical exemption, I’d have thought OP1 would have spoken to whoever is most appropriate and made some fair, equitable arrangement around testing and so on.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              The thing to keep in mind about religious objections is that while there are some sects that genuinely oppose vaccination on principle, these are mostly pretty marginal in American culture. Think Christian Scientist. The politicization of vaccines we are seeing now comes from Evangelical Protestantism, which only discovered a sincere and deeply held opposition to vaccines the day that Biden was inaugurated. Any claim otherwise is gaslighting. They did the same thing with opposition to abortion. Recall that the President of the Southern Baptist Convention praised Roe v. Wade as a win for religious freedom. It was only about 1980 that they discovered their sincere and deeply held belief that the Bible clearly tells us abortion is murder.

              1. NotRealAnonForThis*

                Its snarkily amusing when a few Catholics I know claim its against their religion.
                The Pope himself says otherwise.

                1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                  That’s the same kind of ugly prejudice that leads people to question whether Catholics like John Kerry and John Kennedy are fit to be president. The Catholic rank and file get to think for themselves and disagree with leadership as much as any other group of people–that’s part of how the Orthodox and Protestant branches of Christianity exist.

                2. EPLawyer*

                  Yep. The Pope decides what religious doctrine is. He said getting vaccinated is very much in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

                  Other than Christian Scientists I am not sure of ANY religion that is really anti-vaxx. Heavens knows they all probably have their measles, mumps and rubella shots. Probably get a flu shot once a year too.

                3. Elizabeth I*

                  Yeah, the official Catholic stance is that vaccination is for the common good, and therefore recommended for those that are medically able to be vaccinated – but also that it must be someone’s free choice to be vaccinated (i.e. not forced). So it’s an approach that is trying to balance promoting what’s good for all while also preserving each individual’s ability to freely choose that good.

                  Also, my understanding (from reading this site!) is that the way that religious exemptions/accommodations typically work in the workplace (whether vaccine related or something else) is that you don’t need to prove that a particular thing goes against your religion’s officially held doctrines/dogmas, you just need to show that it’s against your own personal “sincerely held religious belief”. I guess that makes sense given that there is a plurality of beliefs within any religious sect.

                4. SimonTheGreyWarden*

                  EP Lawyer – maybe the Amish? I’m am not certain how much inroads are made with vaccinations there.

                5. Rainy*

                  @EPLawyer, I grew up in a cult that discouraged medical care in favour of faith-healing. I got my vaccinations (my dad was a microbiologist) but many of the kids I knew did not have any shots at all unless they left the cult.

              2. Katke*

                Not even the Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses anymore. The CS view compliance with public health measures as part of loving one’s neighbor.

                1. Richard Hershberger*

                  Really? I did not know that. Their theology is sound. I am Christian, but not Evangelical. Within my church the loving your neighbor argument is regarded as immediately obvious.

                2. The Leirum*

                  Yep. This comes up here a lot and I feel like I need to come out of the lurking and say “Hi, fully vaccinated Cristian Scientist here” Katke has it right.

              3. Mallory Janis Ian*

                The religion of evangelical protestantism, these days, is anything by which they can maintain their slipping cultural dominance in the U.S.

              4. Donkey Hotey*

                It doesn’t help that there are conspiracy theories suggesting that the vaccine is made … (I’ll leave out the BS) … in a manner that would make anti-abortion advocates refuse the vaccine on principle.

              5. Aerin*

                In some of the discussions I’ve seen about granting exemptions, they’ve talked about specifically investigating whether the person has demonstrated a history of holding this belief. (So if you’ve gotten other vaccines without complaint, no dice.) I’ve also seen compelling arguments that organizations are possibly on safer legal ground if they refuse all non-medical exemption requests rather than adjudicating which ones are sincerely held.

          6. GlitsyGus*


            The only caveat I may have added is that if you cannot get the vaccine for a medical reason, bring that up with your HR department. There may be a way for them to help out or get it covered by your insurance or something.

            Given the way the letter was worded, though, it really did sound like thy just didn’t want to bother or look into options; not that they were actually worried about the financial burden of it.

            1. AnonymousAndroid*

              Yeah, I have a lot more sympathy if someone *can’t* get vaccinated rather than chooses not to. I’d hope something could be done to help out with costs if needed for those with genuine medical exemptions.

              1. Lego Leia*

                I have started calling people who medically can’t get it “unvaccinatable” instead of “unvaccinated”.

              2. Artemesia*

                There are virtually no religious bars to vaccination — these deeply held religious or philosophical beliefs are just tarting up ‘I don’t wanna’. ‘I don’t wanna’ is no reason to endanger other people in a public health emergency. Typhoid Mary sincerely wanted to be a cook.

          7. Yvette*

            OK I agree with the whiff of BS. That being said, presumably the company is having everyone, even those with genuine, valid medical exemptions, pay for their testing. I think I would be safe in saying that most here would agree that companies requiring ongoing drug testing should pay for it. Why is this different? And I say this as someone who not only had Covid but was also vaccinated.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Because you can’t infect another person with drugs just by sitting near them.

              1. Yvette*

                Drug testing is usually done for safety reasons, such as operating heavy machinery. The point is it is generally been accepted that if the company requires something the company pays for it.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                  Society and frankly the entire human race requires people to either vaccinate or do their utmost best to avoid spreading this deadly disease by testing and isolating if it’s positive – it’s not just a workplace safety thing.

                  Also, the OP didn’t ask for help on the costs, just how to refuse and keep a job. Which they can’t.

                2. PollyQ*

                  Sometimes, but not always. Companies may require a certain style of attire, but they don’t pay for it. Even specific uniforms are generally bought & owned by the workers. Many jobs require a current driver’s license, and it’s generally up to the employee to pay for that. And then there are all the jobs that require higher education. Yes, some offer tuition reimbursement, but by and large, employees are responsible for covering their own education costs.

                3. Stop whining*

                  The idea that if a company requires something, the company pays for it is very much not a universal truth. Steel toed work boots, for example, are often required but not reimbursed, as are tools for some jobs. I had to have a computer at home long before the company started issuing laptops, and an internet connection before that was a standard household item. The company didn’t provide either or reimburse me fir the cost. Beyond that, though, this is not like a drug test required of everyone whether there’s a reason to suspect drug use or not. It’s an exception for those who refuse to (plus a tiny fraction who can’t) take a small step to protect themselves and others during a pandemic. The cost is not forced on anyone who could get the vaccination; it’s their choice. Good for that company for making it the more expensive choice. I do feel for those who truly can’t get the shot, but I would be utterly shocked if lw1 falls into that category, given the tone of the letter.

                4. iliketoknit*

                  I’ve hit the nesting limit, so this is really intended as a reply to Keymaster above, but the point about the OP not asking for help with payment is a really good one. If they wanted to comply but couldn’t afford to, the letter would likely have asked something like “of course I’m willing to test, but can’t afford the long-term cost – how can I talk to my workplace about whether they can pay or reducing the expense?”

                  (All that said, TBF to the LW, they are willing to quit over the requirement – they’re just trying to figure out when that will kick in – so it’s not like they’re saying “how DARE they require me to test!!!!” or trying to stay in the job but get out of testing. I don’t agree with their stance at all, but it could be worse.)

                5. LTL*

                  Regarding the point that companies don’t often pay for things required for the job, such as specific uniforms. Perhaps they don’t but they definitely should.

              2. Bamcakes*

                If this is “pay for testing” in a “buy LFD tests for a few quid each”, fair enough. But if they’re asking everyone to get PCR tests for £75 each, that’s really not an expense individual employees should be required to bear.

                1. Me*

                  I quite imagine the company is doing it for a reason. By making it unpleasant to not be vaxxed they’re making a pretty clear statement their policy is that their preference is that you are vaxxed.

            2. Green great dragon*

              I don’t think there’s a one true answer about who should pay – we expect to buy our own work-appropriate clothes but we expect the company to provide equipment – and it may come down to the details. Do local regulations say people should be testing anyway? Are there any people with genuine medical exemptions (they seem pretty rare) or is it personal choice? Is it actually a high cost when considering salaries?

              But this LW didn’t ask about pushing back on costs.

            3. Nelliebelle1197*

              The medical exemptions are minuscule and basically boil down to an anaphylactic reaction to ingredients and chronic fatigue syndrome. I doubt this is medical.

              1. Interview Coming Up*

                There are medical and philosophical exemptions *for a reason as well*. You might not agree with the reason, but it’s there.

                But testing is what a person would gladly do if they cared about the safety of those around them.

              2. Ms JT*

                There are more exemptions than that

                people who are fighting cancer cannot get any vaccines.

                My roommate is in the final stages of chemo (she is now cancer free – YAY)

                she cannot get the coved vaccine. She also cant get tetanus or any other vaccine until she is well clear of chemo/radiation treatments

                1. fhqwhgads*

                  This is not universal. I know at least three people who have cancer and are very much in the process of getting vaccinated. They have to schedule it around chemo – I don’t recall the exact timing but there had to be a certain distance between shot and treatment. Depending on one’s treatment plan it’s very possible to get vaccinated for COVID-19 while in the middle of cancer treatments. Not to say your scenario isn’t sometimes true, but “some cancer patients” is different than anyone fighting cancer.

                2. quill*

                  Yeah, every medical exemption is going to be extremely individual. I don’t think it’s going to help us to generalize to “everyone except patients with X can be vaccinated!” when the reality is that even if any of us were doctors, we would have to be evaluating patients individually.

                  Also, time to remind the commentariat that there are more people with medical conditions and disabilities out there than you probably think.

                3. Gipsy Danger*

                  That is 100% not true. I work in a cancer clinic and for the most part, people with cancer can absolutely get the vaccine. There are some patients that can’t get the vaccine, but the vast majority can.

                4. KoiFeeder*

                  Adding on to quill’s comment, but there’s also medical issues that can hinder the vaccine without qualifying as an exemption. Mine didn’t take, and while my immune system is poor enough that I’ve been staying in full quarantine, I’d probably have to (and want to!) get tested on a regular basis if that wasn’t the case.

                5. Not a cat*

                  I had cancer last year. The tumor was excised and I received a stem cell injection. About a month later I was vaccinated.

                6. Black Horse Dancing*

                  My spouse got the vaccine while on chemo. this must vary. She is getting the third shot (US) next week.

                7. M / P*

                  This is emphatically not true. In fact, in my country people on chemo were prioritized for vaccination when vaccines were still in short supply.

              3. Theo*

                This isn’t entirely true. People with things like MCAS are also being advised not to be vaccinated, and there’s a small handful of other things. But those people as a general rule DESPERATELY want to be vaccinated, get tested often, and would not talk like the OP.

            4. EPLawyer*

              I agree if they want to require vaxx (which if FREAKING FREE BTW) or testing which might not be free in a specific area, the company should pay for it.

              However, the company can do all the carrots and sticks they want and some glassbowls are STILL going to refuse to get vaxxed OR get tested regularly. Because glassbowls gonna glassbowl.

            5. Aquawoman*

              Yvette, I agree with you. Someone with a legit medical exemption should have their test paid for or be allowed to work from home or have some other accommodation. Workplaces are supposed to provide and pay for accommodations for disabled people. I understand that the extremists have made the rest of us pretty ticked off by their callous disregard for public health and safety. But penalizing people who probably would LOVE to be vaccinated and can’t is not okay.

          8. Anonys*

            It would still be interesting to know what your answer would be for someone with a genuine medical exemption! Imo employers should do their utmost to protect those employees since they are usually at high risk for complications as well. This pandemic is already so hard for people who know they are vulnerable and cant do anything about it through vaccination and I would hate to see an additional financial burden placed on them. But could a company even (legally) decide to pay for testing only for those wiht medical exeptions? though in that case I think those who have “philosophical or religious” exemptions due to being anti vaxxers might try very hard to get a BS medical doctors note as well?

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              If, like my member of staff, they absolutely cannot get a vaccination because of very good medical reasons they should act like she does: mask up everywhere, get regular tests, ask the workplace to enforce social distancing and masking and vaccination and if they need help with the costs of testing (she doesn’t) then ask for help.

              I’ll move heaven and earth to keep her on my team. If she’d strolled in and just said ‘I’m not getting tested and you can’t force me’ then I’d….be far less inclined to help.

            2. Amy the Rev*

              Agreed- I’d love to talk about how employees who medically cannot get the covid vaccine, and who cannot work from home, could advocate for themselves and how to go about asking employers to pay for testing. In my area, we have an indoor mask mandate, and clergy are allowed to take their masks off to preach (since we have hard-of-hearing and neurodivergent folks who rely on reading lips/faces for comprehension) but only if we get a negative test result that morning. They are requiring a very specific rapid test, which is about $50 per test in my area. Thankfully, my church is covering the cost, but if they weren’t, how might I go about asking them to?

            3. Amy the Rev*

              Yes! I think it’d be good to think about how employees with medical exemptions could ask for help paying. My area has an indoor mask mandate and vaccinated clergy (like myself) are allowed to take off their masks to preach (which is good because we have hard-of-hearing and neurodivergent folks who rely on lip/face reading for comprehension), as long as we’ve tested negative that morning, from a very specific test that costs about $50 per test in my area. Thankfully my church covers the cost but if they didn’t how might someone go about asking their employer to cover the cost? This to me feels similar to a medical exemption in that the testing mandate is even for vaccinated people, not just unvaccinated.

              1. Sharon*

                I wonder if the employee’s health insurance might cover the cost of testing ? In any case, any accommodation for a disability just needs to result in the employee being able to perform the essential functions of their job, and the employer does not need to offer the accommodation preferred by the employee.

                If you are a surgeon with an allergy to scrub soap, you don’t get to just not wash your hands. Accommodations could include changing soap brands, sanitizing your hands some other way, wearing gloves (if that provides an equal amount of protection), using a robot to operate while separated from the patient, consulting on cases without actually operating, etc.

          9. Kal*

            I tend to agree with this read of the letter, but I wonder if it would be a good idea to add a “if it were to be due to a medical issue…” type addition to the advice of what might actually be different in that scenario (if anything), in case someone with a medical cause to be unable to be vaccinated and unable to afford weekly testing happens to be searching for help and finds this answer?

          10. Turtles All The Way Down*

            Yes, it’s phrased as “I have an EXEMPTION” rather than “I have a medical condition that necessitated me getting an exemption.”

            1. Rusty Shackelford*


              People who want the vaccine but can’t get it tend to make that pretty clear. People who have chosen not to get the vaccine tend to use weasel words.

          11. Aunt Vixen*

            I don’t know how many people realize how carefully neutral our host remains on so many issues so much of the time. I entirely concur with this comment and I am boggling at how big a deal it is for Alison to have made it.

          12. Sherri*

            Just curious, have you ever had this reaction to any other claim of medical exemption? I don’t remember one and I read your blog religiously!

            1. anone*

              It’s not a claim of medical exemption though. No qualification of the type of exemption was given and Alison made it clear in the comments above that her take on this letter is that this is likely to not be a medical exemption scenario, so this isn’t a reflection of her reaction to that circumstance.

            2. Artemesia*

              And if I am a typhoid carrier I can’t work in kitchens. Restrictions on people who can’t be vaccinated are not punishments; they are public health measures.

          13. ThatGirl*

            I have a neighbor two doors down who I’ve been casually friendly with since they moved in – we talk about our dogs and wave hello. She’s a high school language teacher. She very casually mentioned a few weeks ago that they were thinking about moving to another state in part because she’s “probably gonna get fired”. I asked why and she said the school district was imposing a vaccine mandate* and she just wasn’t gonna get vaccinated, because she “never gets sick” and she visited her grandma in Europe in January and that went fine so she doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. At which point I didn’t wish to argue with a neighbor out on the street so I made vague sympathetic noises and brought the dog inside.

            *now the state has imposed one as well, with twice-weekly testing required if you have an exemption; she made no mention of testing so I don’t know if she’ll go that route or not

            1. Justme, The OG*

              I know of two students not old enough to be vaccinated whose families moved schools so they wouldn’t have to wear masks.

            2. Flower necklace*

              As a high school teacher, this makes no sense to me. Not only does vaccination protect vulnerable students and society at large, but we’re so short on subs that we’ve been warned that we can be pulled for coverage between departments. In the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with two different teachers that still managed to come in after having car trouble. Because they needed to be there that much.

            3. Avi*


              My dad legitimately ‘never gets sick’. In his seventy years he’s only been ill a handful of times, and most of those were when he was very young. I’ve personally never even seen him with so much as a cold. It’s honestly kind of impressive.

              He got the vaccine as soon as he could because he wants to keep never getting sick.

          14. KayDeeAye*

            I just checked the website for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and it says “COVID-19 tests are available at no cost nationwide at health centers and select pharmacies.” Of course, if the OP lives somewhere besides the U.S., it might be a different story, but I find it kind of hard to believe that Canadians, for instance, have to pay when U.S. citizens do not.

            1. Astor*

              Canadians do have to pay for private testing which covers some cases that the free public testing doesn’t. If you’re asymptomatic, for example, or if you need it specifically for travel/work.

              I personally hope that the government, individual workplaces, and schools that require people to attend in person do pay for it, and require testing of vaccinated folks too. It’s about to get bad and while folks who haven’t been vaccinated are putting the most strain on our system, we need to watch this closely and we can’t do that when we treat testing as punitive.

              I’ll put a link for BC in a reply.

            2. Little My*

              I’m also pretty curious about this! I’ve gotten quite a few Covid tests and never paid for one. I live in a major Northeast American city so I know my experience is not universal, but there are many free testing clinics here.

            3. Ismonie*

              While this is true, it can be hard to find testing centers that will take you, or to tell from county websites which ones are free and which ones will charge extra. We really need to fix our testing infrastructure. I had a hell of a time getting a Covid test when I visited my parents away from my home county. My provider didn’t have any relationships with local healthcare providers, and ultimately, the only way for me to access testing was to say (truthfully) that I had a sore throat.

              The other testing providers were often urgent care centers that wouldn’t charge for the test, but would require me to come indoors, sit in a waiting room, and have and pay for an entire visit with an urgent care doctor. And it was possible at that point they would order an influenza test! Drive-through testing my ass. I told them I thought it was false and deceptive advertising.

            4. KayDeeAye*

              I’ve had two, I didn’t have to pay for either one, and I was able to get an appointment for the next day each time. My boss just had to get tested last week and got it the same day she started asking. I’m sure it varies a lot depending on exactly where you are, of course.

          15. Interview Coming Up*

            I think anyone with a religious or philosophical exemption that was not “based on bullshit” would gladly get tested regularly.

            I’d like to note that it’s not just medical exemption vs bullshit. People can have non-bullshit beliefs. But they should still care about other humans’ safety. You might think they should care about it more than the average person but…meh.

          16. Recruited Recruiter*

            That was my first thought when I read the letter. I live in a very conservative city, and we have protests going about the hospital’s decision to mandate either a vaccine or constant testing. We also have doctors who are known to be willing to give bogus mask exemptions.

          17. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

            Ok, Alison, do you really think anyone here is going to take you up on that bet? We like our money where it is!

        3. Beany*

          Working on the standard AAM principle of taking the LW’s submitted information at face value, I’d prefer we *didn’t* assume the exemption is BS just yet. (Yeah, their “no desire” wording is a bit off-putting, but I don’t find that conclusive.) Can we suspend disbelief long enough to answer the question they ask?

          Should employees with a bona fide medical exemption to vaccination have to pay out of pocket for repeated COVID testing?

          1. Colette*

            That’s not the question they asked.

            My answer: it depends on the cost of the test, and the impact on their finances. Personally, if I couldn’t be vaccinated, I would want to be confident I wasn’t spreading disease and would be willing to pay some amount towards the test.

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            The principle is to accept the LW’s fact set. It isn’t that we can’t reach negative conclusions based on that fact set. Remember the LW who complained that their best employee quit to attend their college graduation? Neither Alison nor the commentariat responded positively.

            So what, in the present case, do we know about the exemption? The LW does not explain. Here we come to the Argument from Silence. This is an argument for a conclusion based on something that is missing. This is a tricky logical path to take, because it relies on our expectations for what should be there. Many bad applications come from erroneous expectations. But this does not invalidate the type of argument. It simply is a pitfall to be aware of. In the present case, I would expect someone with a genuine medical exemption would be eager to make this clear, especially in a forum such as this one where Covid is taken very seriously. Making the nature of the exemption clear is a basic first step to establish that the LW is not a crank. Is it possible that the LW simply didn’t work through the logic of the situation this far? Yes it is. But is it more likely than not that the exemption is bogus? Yes it is. Sadly, in the real world we must deal with probabilities, certainties being in short supply.

            Fortunately, the LW has ample opportunity to clarify here in the comments, should they be so moved.

          3. Brooks Brothers Stan*

            An employee with a bona fide medical exemption likely would already know how to work with their employer on ways to mitigate this issue as this wouldn’t be the first time in their life that a rule that fits 99% of the population impacted them.

            My employer didn’t blast out the exemptions and such when they told us about their vaccine mandate, but they provided what to do for the very small percentage of people that qualified for them to managers. Sometimes, the exemptions and workarounds aren’t published simply because people with no reason to need them will take advantage of them.

          4. ecnaseener*

            That’s very much not what they asked. What they asked is whether their employer will let them work out their two weeks notice.

            But your question is a good one, and I do think testing should be provided free of charge whenever possible. I value protection of life over fairness in this case. (“If possible” is doing a lot of work here of course…employers might not be able to afford it if they have a bunch of anti-vax workers.)

            1. KRM*

              I’m guessing “you pay for the weekly testing” is intended to push non-vaxxed people to getting the vax rather than pay out of pocket every week. Having said that, if you have a legitimate medical exemption, I’d expect the company to pay up at least half of the costs (preferably all) for ONLY those exemptions.

              1. It's Growing!*

                Except that I doubt that an employer can legally make a yes and no pile for all submitted exemptions. “Hm…Paul is allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine, so we’ll pay for his tests. Sally is claiming a bogus philosophical exemption, so no.” Even if they only accept medical exemptions, they can’t sort through the pile to validate or repudiate what some doctor signs off on. A possible exception to that might be to toss the all letters from Dr. Feelgood, who has signed 500 letters so far (for a fee) and is speaking to the local medical or legal authority about that conduct.

                It’s all or none. The only way to cut that down is to accept only medical exemptions.

                1. Employee of the Bearimy*

                  My company is only accepting medical exemptions for exactly this reason. If your doctor signed the form, you do weekly testing. Otherwise get your shot(s) or expect to be terminated.

              2. Kate*

                The thing is that there is an extraordinarily tiny amount of people who “can not” get vaccinated due to “medical reasons” but there are an extraordinarily high number of people who *claim* they can not due to “medical reasons.”

                There is an ND at my kid’s school who has sadly gone down the conspiracy rabbit hole of facebook disinformation this past year, and thinks it’s all an elaborate CIA hoax, etc, etc. And yet in our state he’s a doctor who can write prescriptions and exemptions and hoo boy…is he writing them. And telling everyone to contact him for exemption signatures and “don’t be a sheep.”

                I live in Portland, Oregon and there are a *lot* of “wellness” people and essential oil folks and yoga people who have gone full conspiracy theory about this and decry masks and vaccines vociferously. They are lining up to get their “medical exemptions” signed. :(

            2. Tupac Coachella*

              Agree, with a “but.” My employer requires weekly testing for the unvaccinated and provides it…but due to the nature of my particular job, I’m aware of all of the red tape it took to make that happen, and it was a LOT. You can’t just set up a table and start testing people, and unless the employer controls the testing, they can’t control the cost. IMHO: Best option is employer requires and provides, monitors, and pays for testing for all unvaccinated and symptomatic employees. Less perfect but still very good option is employer requires testing for same group and reimburses out of pocket cost. Addendum that makes it slightly less perfect but still very good: employer provides a mechanism to request financial hardship assistance to pay for testing, or gives the option for unvaccinated and symptomatic employees work from home if they can’t afford testing (which would probably further protect many people with legitimate medical exemptions-just because their coworkers are vaccinated doesn’t mean they can’t carry it, and if the vaccine isn’t safe for them, neither is the disease).

              But even though I agree it would be ideal for employers to work with people on this, as a vaccinated person with people who can’t be vaccinated in my life that I’m desperate to protect, I’m ok with OP’s company’s policy. I don’t think it’s out of line for an employer to say that the safety rules they’ve put in place will be enforced and if you want an exception you still have to take steps to maintain that safety. OP, sorry, you’re in the wrong here. Your reason for not vaccinating doesn’t matter, regardless of whether you or other people would find it legitimate, because you put other people at risk, and refusing to test means you also refuse to mitigate that risk. You don’t get to do that to your coworkers. Not for two weeks, not for one minute. If you’re willing to quit over it, ok. But don’t feel cheated because you don’t get the social convention of a notice period when it literally endangers your coworkers’ health.

              1. Littorally*


                My employer jumped through all the hoops and we have a testing center set up in one of our conference rooms. Anyone who is onsite but not vaccinated must get tested at a minimum weekly, as well as any time they come back from going out of state or being out, and everyone vaxxed or no can choose to go take a test whenever they want.

                I appreciate it took a ton of work on my employer’s part to set it up, and I’m real glad to have it there.

            3. Interview Coming Up*

              Right. And no way should they be working without testing. So, I sure hope they don’t get to work their two weeks.

            4. Beany*

              Thanks; you’re right that it wasn’t their ultimate question for Alison. I should have gone upthread to re-read the post before commenting.

          5. Lego Leia*

            If it is an accomodation for a diasbility that does not cause undue hardship for the company, then the person shouldn’t pay.

            My son is in social work, and pays out of pocket for TB testing, so I would expect him to pay for COVID testing outside of work exposure.

          6. Donkey Hotey*

            After 18 months of listing to BS excuse after BS rationalization after BS conspiracy theory, I’m a little tired of giving deniers the benefit of the doubt.
            Makes me a crappy buddhist for not having compassion, but I’m ok with that.

        4. The Rafters*

          I’m thinking that the company is making people who do not have a legitimate medical reason to pay for testing? That would make more sense to me.

      4. NamelessOne*

        There is a very good chance that this person is writing from British columbia, as we have a covid related mandate going into effect on that date. If that is the case, then I don’t believe there is any cost related to being tested.

        1. NeutralJanet*

          This person did say that they would have to pay for testing, though, and it’s fair to assume that they have more knowledge of their circumstances than anyone else.

            1. quill*

              I believe that the LW *thinks* that there will be a cost associated. I can’t say if that’s accurate or if they’ve bothered to check.

        2. ThatGirl*

          Illinois has a mandate going into effect for a great deal of workers including anyone who works in education (through college). This could be a lot of places. AFAIK there is still free testing available around here (I see billboards for it!) but that may not last forever.

        3. Ms.Vader*

          I am also from BC. There is a cost to testing if you are being tested for work or travel – you have to go to a clinic. That being said, that’s the reality. A disease isn’t discriminatory- it’s not going to just pass you by – “ope this one can’t pay or won’t pay for testing and they can’t or won’t get vaccinated, better not infect them” and if you end up getting others sick because of your refusal to be tested, what’s your justification?

      5. Hmmmmm*

        My issue is that most healthcare roles already require you to have vaccines. I had to have my TB for example. It’s no different in my opinion. If LW1 wants to have a job in this field the its part of the requirements. Also as for medical exemption, I would way more forgiving if there wasn’t so many fakes out there.

        1. Ana Gram*

          You were vaccinated for TB? That’s fairly uncommon in the US, at least. I’ve been tested for it tons of times to work as an EMT. EMS requires a few vaccinations and I have to think most healthcare jobs do. It’s very bizarre to me that providers are presumably willing to get other vaccines but this is the hill they’re willing to die on.

          1. Stacy*

            I work in education in the US, and I’m required to have a TB vaccination. It’s a statewide requirement, along with a slew of other vaccines.

            1. Ana Gram*

              Interesting! I’ve never heard of a TB vaccination being required in the US. Fortunately, we moved to quantiferon testing years ago. Those old skin bubble tests were such a pain.

            2. RabbitRabbit*

              That’s wild, I haven’t heard of the BCG vaccine being used in the US.

              I work in healthcare and needed to get a Mantoux test/PPD test yearly for quite a while, and that’s delivered under the skin of the forearm with a small needle. Is that what you mean? It’s definitely not a vaccine, just a test for reactivity that they check 2 days later.

            3. Boof*

              Are you sure it’s not tb testing? Bcg vaccine isn’t very effective AND makes it harder to test for tb; i’ve worked in health care in several states and don’t need that vaccine, just annual testing; can’t seem to find a state listed as requiring it either

              1. Stacy*

                Ah you’re right. Hadn’t had my coffee yet. We are required to have our MMR, Tdap, tetanus and diphtheria. So my coworkers who suddenly oppose mandatory vaccinations are confusing to me since it’s been a requirement for employment for years.

                1. Rusty Shackelford*

                  Just as the parents who are up in arms about required vaccinations didn’t seem to have a problem when their kids needed all of those vaccines to start school…

            4. ScruffyInternHerder*

              I’m actually glad to hear this.

              My parochial elementary school principal had TB (early 1980s in the USA). Active case. We were all tested at school by the local health department every three months. I remember it being absolutely excruciating because it wasn’t the easy four-prong test, it was the one where they doodled around in your elbow with a single needle trying to get a bubble or something.

              Our local public schools were so poorly funded due to mileage failures at this point in time that everyone was on half-days, in case you were wondering why on earth parents tolerated this crap.

            5. Marillenbaum*

              I did not learn that there was a TB vaccine until I tested positive for latent TB, and let me tell you–if I’d known that before going to work in a country with high levels of TB, I would have been running into my doctor’s office with my sleeves ripped off.

              1. Kevin Sours*

                The vaccine for TB is not especially effective and has a side effect that means you will always test positive for TB after taking it. It’s generally not recommended for most people because of that. Though it is sometimes used in populations where there are serious recurring outbreaks.

              2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

                I’ve still got the scar from my BCG vaccination- but we got a lot of TB in our wildlife here in the UK. No rabies though so never had one of those vaccinations – I hear they hurt?

                1. anonymous 5*

                  Not sure if you’ll see this, but not the modern ones. The immunoglobulin shots aren’t the most pleasant (at least if they’re giving them by a specific bite site) but I think they might skip them if you’re taking the sequence in advance of, say, a trip to an area with high incidence, rather than as post-exposure prophylaxis. The vaccine itself is pretty garden-variety IM delivery. It’s a sequence of 3 IIRC, but definitely not the terrifying prospect that they used to be.

            6. Midwest Teacher*

              I’m a teacher in the US and we don’t need to have it or be tested for TB in Iowa. I can’t think of any vaccinations that I was required to get before accepting my job 10 years ago.

          2. Watry*

            It’s pretty much entirely political. As someone above said, many of these people discovered their deep-seated antagonism to vaccines on inauguration day.

            Semi-related: I am also vaxxed for TB, but as a military kid I have some uncommon vaccinations. AFAIK the vax requirements for all schools, both on and off base, was “get vaxxed, show us a medical exemption, or don’t come”.

            1. Ana Gram*

              Military is a whole different ballgame! I asked my Marine husband what vaccines he got and he has no idea. He just looked at me weirdly when I said he should’ve asked…

              1. AthenaC*

                Yup! You just roll up your sleeves and walk through like an assembly line. You come out on the other end with a filled out immunization card.

                1. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  Oh the fun of the ‘peanut butter shot’ – where it honestly feels like you’ve had a glob of peanut butter injected into you (I think that’s one of the gamma globulin ones). According to my RAF mate.

              2. Tessie Mae*

                Yup, my son was in the Navy, and yes, they just lined up, stuck out their arms, and got jabbed for all kinds of stuff. I’ll have to ask him, but he’s probably not sure which vaxxes he’s gotten (he’d have to check his vax card). He also mentioned the “peanut butter” shot.

              3. Girl Alex PR*

                As a Navy vet, confirm. You don’t ask in boot camp because they’re numerous, required, and given by people who outrank you.

                1. Donkey Hotey*

                  Another Navy vet to confirm (although I’ll quibble and say that when I went through the assembly line, I technically wasn’t jabbed – they used high pressure air injectors so they didn’t have to go through so many needles.

                  See also the ex-Marine who just learned the hard way that the highest ranking officer in the Marine Corps is a Navy doctor. General discharge, which means she is ineligible for GI Bill benefits (college, mortgage help, etc)

        2. Ms JT*

          I remember when my mom had heart surgery a few years ago during flu season – there were signs saying any employee who wont get the flu vaccine must wear a mask at all times

          I liked it :-)

      6. capedaisy127*

        The letter writer needs to make it clearer if they don’t want to test at all or object to their employer’s rule that they have to pay.
        It reads like they don’t want to be tested

      7. Harper the Other One*

        That was my thought as well. If OP’s exemption is medical (and yes, there are a few people who are advised not to take it) I think the company should cover the tests – the employee didn’t choose not to be vaccinated, they’re unable to.

        But if the exemption is by choice, I agree with Ellis Hubris that this is the trade-off for not vaccinating.

        1. Harper the Other One*

          And I just read a very good point below that we wanted unvaccinated people to be tested, exemption or not, so we can catch cases ASAP. So I think I’m changing my stance to say that I think companies should cover the costs of tests (if there is one and it’s not covered by insurance in the US) because the social good is sufficient to justify that, even if someone is choosing not to get the vaccine.

          1. Green great dragon*

            I think this is a tricky one. It feels like a company should cover test costs, especially for those with a medical exemption – but then a small company with several vax refusers could end up paying $100s a week. And a company can’t really be the one judging whether an exemption is justified.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              It doesn’t matter whether it’s “justified”. The options are: be vaccinated so it’s very unlikely you’ll become infected and spread to others or be tested regularly to prove you aren’t infected and spreading it to others. Cost of doing neither = shut downs, quarantines, widespread illness and possibly death. Cost of tests is almost certainly less money. But I also don’t have a problem with an employer saying “you pay for it or don’t be here”. It’s basically saying we want a safe workplace and if you can’t or won’t test to prove it’s safe for you to be here, don’t be here.

            2. Aquawoman*

              This is sort of peak capitalism–companies shouldn’t pay costs, individuals should. That’s why we can’t have nice things.

        2. AndersonDarling*

          And I wonder if the OP really has to pay for the test or if they are referring to the cost of taking the time to get tested and the cost of fuel to get there.

      8. CR*

        I was thinking this as well. There are legitimate medical reasons why people can’t get vaccinated sometimes — we don’t know if that’s the case here, but it seems unfair to require an employee to pay out of pocket for continued testing if they literally can’t get vaccinated.

        I know vaccines are really politicized in America, but I think the contempt people have for vaccine refusers is coloring the response. The fact that the OP doesn’t sound bummed out about not being able to get the vaccine doesn’t really have anything to do with it. The organization she works for should be willing to work with her to find a solution where she doesn’t have to keep paying for tests for an indefinite period of time.

        1. Colette*

          If money were the issue – which it doesn’t seem to be, based on her question – it would be worth asking the company to cover it.

          1. Persephone Mongoose*

            The LW plans to give notice the day the policy goes into effect, presumably without another job lined up (otherwise their resignation date would coincide with that of their new job offer), and by resigning would be ineligible for unemployment. I’m guessing that money is not the issue as they are willing to be unemployed in a pandemic.

          2. Blackcat*

            Then the letter would be something like
            “My company has instituted a policy that you either have to be vaccinated or get (and pay for) weekly COVID testing. I’m unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and the costs of weekly testing are prohibitive for me. How can I get the company to cover the costs of testing for me?”

        2. Stop whining*

          The solution to not having to keep paying is to get vaccinated. There is very little doubt they have that option, given the minuscule percentage of people with genuine medical issues and tone of the letter.

        3. DataSci*

          There is a solution where the OP can avoid paying for tests for an indefinite period of time! They can get vaccinated. I agree with the vast majority that anyone with a legitimate exemption, rather than “don’t wanna”, would have made that clear.

        4. Dark Macadamia*

          “The organization she works for should be willing to work with her to find a solution”

          Is there any indication that they’re not? LW is the one who decided to quit (in a way that maximizes how long they can get paid while disregarding health measures)

      9. M2*

        #1 Then don’t work in healthcare. Shame on you! Unless you have a real medical condition (which doesn’t sound like it) you are putting peoples lives at risk.

        My GPS assistant told me she refused to get the shot “because vaccines are bad” and she received an exemption from a different doctor. She also told me Covid only makes you sick for 4 days. There are plenty of shady people out there offering medical exemptions.

        I don’t want to be 30 feet from my GPS assistant and think it’s so unsafe she is seeing patients and unvaccinated. So I wrote a letter.

        Unless you are allergic to one of the ingredients in the vaccine (and there are 3 to choose from so it’s very unlikely) you should be mandated to take it. I know people who had GB syndrome with the flu shot and who have lupus who get impacts from shots— they both got the Covid vaccine.

        We are in Delta hell because people like Lw1 refuse to take the shot and are also refusing to get tested.

        1. AndersonDarling*

          It blows my mind that healthcare workers are questioning getting vaccinated. I work in healthcare offices and I’ve had to get vaccinations for everything. I don’t even work in the same building as patients. When I change jobs, I have to bring all my documentation for vaccinations and everything has to be reviewed before I start working. It’s never been optional. I 100% understand that being vaccinated is part of my employment agreement. It’s the same as nurses, doctors, and techs maintaining their professional licenses. It would be like saying, “I didn’t complete my education credits this year so I didn’t renew my nursing license. But I can keep my job right? No one really cares if I am licensed, right?”

          1. quill*

            It doesn’t blow my mind because unfortunately, no matter how educated or intelligent someone is, there is a specific brand of politics that only works if you reject reality and substitute your own, and we’ve been incubating it in america for at least a decade at this point.

            The extra education just makes you better at buying into your own bullshit: see Dr. Oz.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Ain’t just America sadly. I mean the Andrew Wakefield twit practically started this whole modern antivaxx thing and he’s British. So, errr, sorry rest of the world for inflicting that on you…

              1. quill*

                I just know more about america because, you know, I live here.

                Been busily studying my history for a few years in order to understand how… all of this occurs and it’s a trip.

            2. Sorrischian*

              You also get a lot of people in ancillary health care roles (I work with a lot of MLTs and MLSs) who have enough scientific and medical education to know their narrow specialty and know the terminology of research, but never really got any grounding in how to judge the validity of claims or any of that, and they end up sort of paradoxically even more susceptible to “scientific sounding” scams and fear-mongering

          2. Windchime*

            Yeah, this gets me too. I’ve worked in IT for healthcare orgs for over 20 years and we have to have proof of vaccinations or immunity from a bunch of stuff; TB, MMR, influenza, and be current on tetanus. It’s not optional; it’s proof I have to provide along with all my other paperwork, ID, etc.

        2. Anna*

          “We are in Delta hell because people like Lw1 refuse to take the shot and are also refusing to get tested”

          And because countries that have more than enough vaccines are doing a bad job of sharing vaccines with countries that don’t have enough vaccines.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          I asked about this on our work manager’s forum today – what’s the most ridiculous excuse they’ve heard for someone claiming to not need masks/vaccines/testing. It wasn’t that long ago but I think I have a winner:

          Staff member 30 male. Claimed that only unholy sinful people get Covid and then any demand to mask or vaccinate was saying they were sinful and testing treated them like filthy animals. Also claimed vaccines are made from unborn children. Staff member told to stfu, follow the rules or gtfo off the work site

          1. Lenora Rose*

            That’s a winner! Worst contest ever, but a winner.

            The “vaccines are made from unborn children” has to be a wilful misunderstanding of the cell culture used for vaccines, not an accidental one, but at least it has a tiny tenuous connection to reality. The rest sounds like the anti-vaxxer HPV vaccine attacks repurposed to where it makes even less sense, when it was already nonsense there.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Wrote asking the manager: apparently no, this guy honestly believed they used millions of actual children as an ingredient for the jabs.

              Apparently said guy is still at work, masking up and testing, but on a very stern ‘literally one more word out of you on this matter that isn’t an apology and you get fired’ warning from HR.

              I love this firm.

          2. quill*

            “Staff member told to STFU” an acronym that should not work as well in a business setting as it does.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              There’s a lot of downsides in working in such a blunt heavily male dominated industry as heavy engineering – but the way they’ll just outright call people out for being muppets is lovely :)

        4. LabTechNoMore*

          Then don’t work in healthcare. Shame on you!

          This is where I land too. If you don’t “believe in” modern medicine, you’re in the wrong career. (And to preempt any “no sandwiches” type arguments – I realize there are plenty of valid critiques over modern day healthcare, but the propaganda-laden antivaxx movement isn’t one of them.)

      10. Bella*

        Yes agree with this. Vaccination is an extremely tense topic but I felt Alison’s resonse was loaded. There are reasons that people cannot get vaccinated, and it seems unreasonable that they should be out of pocket due to employer’s testing policies as a result.

      11. HalloweenCat*

        A faith-based wellness chiropractor near me has been very publically saying they will provide vaccine exemption doctors’ notes for anyone who “needs” one. They were even on the local news for offering this “Service.” You don’t even have to be an existing patient iirc. Now, I am not a doctor and I’ve never even played one on TV but I think if someone legitimately needed a vaccine exemption they could get it from their actual doctor…. I only bring this up because the LW doesn’t say they have X medical issue that makes vaccination dangerous, they say they have an EXEMPTION CARD. So. Make of that what you will.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Chiropractors are not doctors. Unless this chiropractor happens to also have an MD, he went on television and announced he’d falsify a doctor’s note for whoever wants it?

          1. Tree*

            chiropractors are not medical doctors but they have a doctorate degree, they are doctors of chiropractic.

            1. ceiswyn*

              Sure, but I’m pretty confident that only medical doctors can provide vaccination exemption certificates. Not, say, physics PhDs.

              1. Shad*

                There are several types of doctorates that typically “count” for providing doctor’s notes besides MDs, including doctors of osteopathy and psychology (though hopefully the latter would only provide notes based on psychological conditions). And for better or for worse, chiropractors are also on that list, since they provide some form of patient care.

                1. Idril Celebrindal*

                  @ceiswyn Yeah, chiropractors are really good at what they do, but having worked for a chiropractic school, I am aware of what they are trained in, and virology isn’t part of it

        2. Anne Elliot*

          My agency will not accept a doctor’s note from a chiropractor as being sufficient for this issue. It doesn’t have anything to do with “are chiropractors doctors?”, it has to do with whether the provider’s treatment specialty, and level of expertise, has anything to do with the issue under review.

      12. anonymath*

        Agree with others that if there is a medical reason not to be vaccinated, then the question would be “how can I get my employer to pay for the testing given that this is a reasonable accommodation and of course I want to work with them to not put anyone at risk for infection via the possible disease vector of me.”

      13. Anne Elliot*

        Yet another way the politicizers of this public health issue are screwing people over: If there was a high likelihood that many or more of the people seeking medical exemptions actually, truly, legitimately needed them — which would be a relatively small number of people — then I think companies and agencies would be much more receptive to covering the costs of routine testing. But so long as people suspect or know that many of the people seeking exemptions are doing so for fraudulent reasons, and that the cost of necessary routine testing is likely to be much higher because far more people will be demanding it, companies and agencies are not going to be willing to assume responsibility for the cost.

      14. EmbracesTrees*

        I have a sincere question for readers regarding many of the responses to LW1 (for the record, I agree that the way they have phrased their post sounds like they don’t *want* to be vaccinated and don’t *want* to pay for testing, not that they *can’t* do either.

        Question (this is all just my curiosity, nothing nefarious=)):
        I live in a relatively rural area in NY state and testing here is free at the local pharmacy. Is this not the case in most places? Is this a state-by-state thing? (if so, do refuse-nik/denier-led states (looking at you, FL, my former home) make people pay?)
        Where do you live and what are the standards there? How much are people having to pay for these life-saving tests?

        Thanks, folks!

        1. Shad*

          In North Carolina, some providers advertise free tests (with fine print about qualifying reasons), while others do not. And since my job doesn’t require routine testing, I haven’t done any investigation to find out if it would be a qualifying reason.
          And, actually, thinking about the providers I’ve looked at, the fully national chain advertises it as free, while the state-limited one (which is here, FL, TX, and one or two other states I’m forgetting) is the one that doesn’t.

          1. KittyCardigans*

            I’m in NC, and at least in my town, CVS and Walgreens both have drive-through testing. It’s free if you have insurance. I think you have to pay for the ones that get sent to your house, which makes sense to me (more packaging, more postage, more bother).

        2. Keanu Reeves's Patchy Beard*

          I live in a red state, and our health department is shipping out Vault saliva tests for free. It’s not well-publicized, but if we’re providing free testing, I find it highly unlikely that there is no place to find free testing in LW1’s area.

        3. ThisIsTheHill*

          I live in MI & we have free testing – the State’s main COVID page links to a locator. Even if they didn’t, I’d assume insurance (which you’d most likely have as an FTE in healthcare) would pick up most/all of the cost.

        4. Loredena Frisealach*

          It’s definitely free in my local rural area of NY – but I was tested before moving here from GA, and that hit me for over 100 per person! I think it’s really variable depending upon where you live and work (for instance my nieces have been regularly getting tested for free in NC at college).

          So I absolutely sympathize with anyone who can’t be vaccinated and needs regular testing, and think provision needs to be made. But I have zero sympathy for someone who just chooses not to, which makes the entire thing harder because policies need to be global.

        5. Chris too*

          If we need a test because we have symptoms, or because we are going in for an operation or medical procedure, tests are free, and done at government run testing centres. If we just want a test for travel purposes, they’re done at private clinics and we have to pay. This is the province of B.C.

        6. Little My*

          I live in Boston, and have gotten some tests that are free with insurance and more that are completely free walk-ins with no questions about your reason for testing.

        7. Jules of the River*

          I live in CA and have had three tests – all were walk-in, completely free, and not linked to health insurance at all.

        8. Sparkles McFadden*

          Some places are starting to make categorical distinctions in testing:

          – If you are showing symptoms or have been exposed to covid, the test is free.
          – If you require a test before you are allowed to be admitted into a locale/event, you are responsible for payment.

          This really needs to be the model everywhere as the rest of us should not have to foot the bill for people who just don’t want to get a vaccine. There need to be consequences for people who are ignoring a major public health crisis. Free vaccine vs. paying for covid tests in perpetuity might push some people to do the right thing…or get them to leave the workplace and keep everyone else safe.

        9. Gothic Bee*

          I live in VA and testing is free here. Where I am the question is whether you can get an appointment, at least I know most of the CVS/Walgreens drive through testing appointments are booked up quickly. And most of the walk-in doctor offices around here have crazy long wait times.

      15. Temperance*

        No, anyone who is refusing a vaccine should pay for weekly tests. If you want to be around other people, you need to be considerate.

        If you’re an anti-vaxxer, you don’t deserve consideration or free benefits for putting others at risk.

      16. a tester, not a developer*

        LW1 doesn’t specify that it’s a medical exemption though – can’t you also get them for religious/other objections?

        1. Midwest Teacher*

          Yep. And I can almost guarantee that if it were a medical exemption, OP would have specified that because they would have absolutely anticipated the direction the comments are going.

      17. quill*

        Many companies are paying, wholly or partially for the tests themselves, though obviously there are so many different employers to consider that if OP is looking for a new job, they should probably get information on if covid tests are covered.

        A fund for ongoing testing would be helpful at most employers if they want to be fair to employees with medical exemptions.

        But it’s also possible there were identifying features, or tangents, in the original letter that Allison cropped out but which are influencing her response.

      18. wittyrepartee*

        Even if they have a medical exemption from being vaccinated, they need to be tested. The testing is to keep other people safe, not a punishment. That’s doubly true for people in a medical field. Having the exemption doesn’t mean you can’t contract or spread the virus.

      19. Momma Bear*

        LW 1 should look for community resources that provide free testing. This is the either/or choice a lot of businesses are going to – opt out (for whatever reason) but mask up and get tested regularly. IMO that is a reasonable request in these times. LW does not indicate here that there is a medical reason to not be vaccinated, so this comes down to personal preference. I could refuse drug screening for my job, but that is a requirement of employment so refusal is then also the choice to no longer work there. You are free to choose. You are not free from the consequences of your choices.

        1. The Other Katie*

          LW1 doesn’t seem to have cost issues with affording tests. They just don’t want to get them.

      20. Cringing 24/7*

        I think that if it was a medical exemption, OP likely would have mentioned it, and their question would have been, “Why am I being forced to pay for this on top of having my medical issue and is that an ADA violation?”

      21. Meep*

        Any reason that makes you medically exempt is the best reason why you should be getting tested frequently. Because if you don’t get the vaccine and you end up in the hospital with COVID, your insurance will most likely not foot the bill for you. Especially if you haven’t been taking the necessary precautions to get tested. Also, it is my understanding, COVID testing is still free with most insurance.

        As someone who works in healthcare, LW1 should know all of this better than anyone and has absolutely 0 excess to be this ignorant about why it might be important for their health if they are medically exempt.

      22. Abernathy Z.*

        Given that LW#1 is planning to resign rather than get tested (perhaps without other work lined up?) I’m thinking the cost may not be the issue here.

      23. Llama face!*

        I was coming to ask the same question but perhaps more as a hypothetical. OP #1 does have the tone of an antivaxxer to me as well but if this was someone who had one of the very rare serious medical reasons why they couldn’t receive the vaccine (like a life threatening allergy) then wouldn’t the onus be on the employer to pay for the tests since it is more in the nature of a medical accommodation? But I also see that they work in healthcare and so I think the fact that their employer is offering to let unvaxxed people keep working at all is already pretty generous on their part. Possibly too generous since that may increase patient risk depending on exactly what part of healthcare it is.

      24. Observer*

        given that medical exemptions from vaccinations often arise from other ongoing – and expensive – medical issues

        Except that there is no reason to believe that it’s an actual medical issue here. Also, the OP doesn’t actually want to do the testing altogether. (They say “but I have no desire to test and also pay for it”

        I see no reason why the company should pay the cost of testing under such circumstances.

      25. Brandy*

        I agree. If you want employees tested, that’s a cost of doing business. Weekly Covid tests? That can get expensive. “Vaccination or mask” is reasonable. “Vaccination or get weekly tests at your expense” is not reasonable. That’s pushing someone out. In that case, be upfront about it.

        1. Observer*

          Why? Employees have a valid alternative. It’s one thing if someone CAN’T get the shot (or their doctor has valid concerns.) It’s another if it’s just “I don’t wana”, which is what we’re dealing with here. See Alison’s pinned comment (which was already there before you posted this.)

        2. It's Growing!*

          That’s pushing someone out.

          I would say that’s an employee choosing not to work there. If I’m on the receiving end of the healthcare in question, I don’t really care why someone doesn’t want to vaccinated/tested/masked. I care that they’re not going to make me sicker than whatever brought me in. For the one person on staff with a legit medical reason, I could accept it if they wore an N95 mask.

          And it’s not “Vaccination or mask,” it’s both.

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Nahh, it’s not pushing someone out, it’s making it clear where the lines on ‘reasonable accommodation’ are.

          Don’t wanna test or get vaccinated but still want to come into work and get paid? Sorry, I can’t accommodate that request without putting the lives of your coworkers at risk.

          Can’t get vaccinated because of medical reasons? Sure, let’s have a chat about how we’re going to do the masking/testing thing and also how I can protect you from others.

          Won’t get vaccinated because you think the virus is fake/the vaccines don’t work or are experimental/you think it’s gene therapy/you reckon they’ll make you die in 2 years etc and you refuse to get tested and wear a mask?

          There’s your P45 and the box of your things.

    2. Mu*

      This. People might not like either option but that’s how life is in so many ways and circumstances. You decide what you think is best for you. And if you don’t want to protect yourself, you don’t get to refuse to protect others.

        1. Elmyra Duff*

          The choice is still there. Choose to get vaccinated or not. If you don’t, you have to deal with the consequences. Same thing if you choose not to get vaccinated before you go overseas. You can choose not to and stay home, or get the required vaccines and go on your trip.

    3. ExecAsst*

      Agreed. My employer is starting testing requirements next week after pushing vaccinations for months and being extremely generous on all COVID-related benefits over the last 18+ months; the company is paying for the tests, but I know a few employees were concerned about how the testing would work and privacy concerns particularly for an employee with a medical waiver. She was afraid of having to be tested publicly, etc. (She can do it privately at her desk, once a week.) I agree with Alison though – the tone of this letter isn’t one of someone with a medical waiver or a legitimate religious exemption… they just sound like someone who won’t get the vaccine and won’t comply with testing. And for that, most employers will terminate because it is noncompliance with a requirement for employment. Why would you get to give 2 weeks notice for that?

      1. JM60*

        or a legitimate religious exemption

        IMO, religious exemptions for something like this are illegitimate. One person’s religious rights ends where they would jeopardize the health of others.

        1. EmbracesTrees*

          Yep, I agree. It’s like religious beliefs that exclude women, for example. Your right to your beliefs ends where it hurts others.

        2. mreasy*

          Agreed. Also, just as an employer wouldn’t pay for your church tithing or your kid’s Bar Mitzvah, they shouldn’t be required to pay for something that enables you to practice religion – in this case, covid testing if you have a “religious exemption”.

    4. albe*

      Look, in some parts of the world, there’s already mandatory testing for health workers. Either get vaccinated, accept the testing or quit. It’s not very complicated.

      1. BubbleTea*

        My mum works for the NHS. She is fully vaccinated AND must test twice a week. Everyone in the UK is advised/asked to test twice a week but healthcare workers are required to do so. Now tests are free (not the kind you need for international travel, but these ones are) so that is a difference, but not a compelling one given that that’s a general difference between our healthcare systems anyway.

        1. Agent Diane*

          Child starts school next week here in the UK. Rapid tests twice a week (LFD test that checks if they are asymptomatic). Kids can opt out (or parents can opt them out) but they all talk about it like it’s just part of going to secondary school. It’s free.

          I work from home, but always do a rapid test before getting the train in to my office so I know I’m not shedding that damn stuff. We always have a pack of the tests in the house, picked up for free from the local pharmacy.

          I agree that where tests need to be paid for then the employer should be paying. That includes if work travel here in the UK takes you overseas. If it’s the costs, discuss that with the employer.

          I think anyone working in the healthcare sector who isn’t willing to stick a wand up their nose once a week during a pandemic is probably best off leaving that sector.

          1. londonedit*

            I’ve been doing twice-weekly lateral flow tests since they became available through the NHS and I’m not even really going anywhere – I just feel like I should take advantage of the fact that we do have free and simple testing now (a year or so ago I never would have thought I’d have a free pack of Covid tests in my bathroom to use whenever I want) and use that opportunity to carry on making sure that I’m not an asymptomatic carrier. If I’m meeting friends or going to visit people it really isn’t a hardship to do a test beforehand just to make sure. The test kits we have now are even easier than the original ones – it’s just a nose swab, you don’t even need to swab your throat anymore. It takes seconds.

        2. Paul Pearson*

          UK health worker here – they got us vaccinated early and expected us two. we take weekly lateral flow tests.

          Someone can claim not to want the vaccine… in which case all of us will gather to mock them cruelly for gratuitous stupidity.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            Was up at my local hospital today and about half a mile down the road there was someone dressed in a nurse’s uniform holding up some sign regarding how unfair it was that they had to get vaccinated to keep their jobs.

            By the time I got to the hospital though I’d forgotten – is it worth me calling them or another branch of the NHS to warn them about the protestor? If they’re going to get mocked by their coworkers though I’m happy :)

    5. Anon Mouse*

      If LW is writing from the US most insurance will cover testing and most cities offer free testing somewhere (you might have to find it). So if you’re willing to test if the money isn’t a factor I would look around. I kinda get the sense that you aren’t from your letter though to be honest.

      1. Bayta Darrell*

        I got tested in the drive thru of a local pharmacy recently, and it was free and very easy. Made my appointment online for later that same day, pulled up, swabbed myself, and was gone in 5 minutes. It was free, and not an inconvenience at all. This person is saying that a trip through the drive thru and five minutes of their time is just too high a price to pay for protecting the lives of their co-workers. How selfish.

        1. MissM*

          My area (US) has National Guard run testing in addition to all the pharmacies, where they don’t even ask for insurance information so anyone can be tested for free because of how important testing is in preventing the spread of this stupid thing. I was able to get an appointment there quicker than in a privately run option, and got my PCR test results back sooner than my friend who went with a clinic based test. Only thing was that I had to swab myself which frankly I find easier.
          How selfish is my interpretation too.

          1. M2*

            My guess is Lws employer makes them do it on site to make sure that it’s done and that they don’t fake a negative test which I am sure people do. I wish insurance companies would force anyone who refuses the vaccine to pay for any and all covid testing! Only free for kids and those who have received the vaccine.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          My child had to get tested and it was actually a pretty big deal. There are no drive-through tests in my area, and at 9:00 am she managed to nab the last same-day appointment at the only clinic that actually had appointments that weren’t a week away. I’m still very much in favor of this LW being tested, but it’s not that easy everywhere.

      2. TiffIf*

        Some insurance companies will only cover testing if you have been exposed-not for travel or work requirements.

      3. TiffIf*

        Some US insurances companies will cover Covid testing if you have known exposure, but won’t if you need it for work or travel.

        1. RegBarclay*

          Yep, I’ve been looking into it as I want to go to Canada this fall (I’m vaccinated but they still require a test). There are ads for free testing all over my area, but it’s only really free if you’re symptomatic or exposed. You have to dig really far down to find that fact, and dig even further to find the actual cost if you want to pay up front (if they even list it, many won’t give you an up front price at all!).

        1. AndersonDarling*

          I came down with a sore throat and cough and went to a clinic to get tested. I was surprised that it was $75. They didn’t ask if I was vaccinated (I was). They made it sound like it was my health insurance that was charging it, and it would have been free if I had another carrier.
          Luckily, I just had a cold. A $75 cold.

      4. Sylvan*


        I have the impression that the OP just doesn’t want to test.

        You basically stick a Q-tip up your nose for several seconds. Then you wait a couple of days to get told you do or don’t have covid. It’s fucking fine. Easier than being unvaccinated and not knowing.

        1. quill*

          I called it donating snot to science in front of my former boss once… she was not impressed, but also a little amused?

    6. allathian*

      I think that people who don’t get vaccinated have no business working in the medical field at all, certainly not with vulnerable patients. I don’t really care if they refuse the vaccine for medical reasons or any other reasons. The virus doesn’t care why you haven’t been vaccinated.

      That said, I do think that in some cases it might be warranted for the employer to pay for the test, if the employee hasn’t been vaccinated for medical reasons. For any other reasons, including “religious” accommodation, the employee should pay. That might persuade some to either get vaccinated in spite of their beliefs, or to switch careers to do something where they’re less likely to be a danger to others through their stupidity.

      I also think that given that Covid, like every other disease, has an incubation period, people who refuse the vaccine for any reason and insist on working in the medical field should be required to get a PCR test before every single shift (you get the result in 15 minutes). Germans get one free test every day so they can go to restaurants, etc.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        Here’s something I don’t have much knowledge of: If a person cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, is it likely they would/are able to pursue a career in the medical field? Lots of vaccines are required to work as a doctor, nurse, nursing aide, medical assistant, etc., and if a person can’t get those jabs, can they get work at all?

        1. Midwestern Scientist*

          Different vaccines have different ingredients and some have alternatives (see flu shot vs nasal spray). It’s super variable by vaccine and medical condition. In either scenario the patient should be working this out with their doctor. And having required testing is not an undue hardship as an accommodation.

          1. Harper the Other One*

            Yep, my boss gets flu shots every year, has a full complement of vaccines for travel, etc., but has a rare autoimmune disorder – her doctors only okayed mRNA vaccines, including the Covid one, last month after seeing further studies on how specific elements of the immune system respond to it.

        2. KateM*

          Even if they CAN work, SHOULD they? If they can’t get vaccines, especially if it’s because of their own medical issues, should they risk themselves daily like that?

          1. Midwestern Scientist*

            Many (in the hospital system I work in) wear PPE if they are in a clinical situation that is risky to their health. Presumably they have chatted with their doctor(s) and have made their choices re: potential medical issues.

          2. Bamcakes*

            This is getting weird. There are established practices and processes for people with chronic health conditions and disabilities which might have an impact on whether and how they can work in healthcare, and it’s something that medical employers and unions take very seriously. A random speculative discussion on whether people should be excluded from certain jobs “for their own good” is likely to get extremely ableist.

        3. PollyQ*

          LW says she works for a “healthcare organization”, which may not mean that she’s interacting with patients directly, interacting with medical providers, or even working in a location where patients are treated. There’s plenty of back-office, white-collar work in large medical organizations. That said, I expect many of those will also require vaccinations or tests, as will more and more employers in all fields.

          1. Anon Today*

            In my experience they do! I work in a medical practice in a private office with no patient contact and am still required to be vaccinated. So are those who are still working from home! This is the case for all of the healthcare workers I talk to, even in different systems. Personally, I’m glad! It keeps us all safer.

          2. ecnaseener*

            Yes, I work for a hospital and even those of us who are 100% WFH are being required to vaccinate (with some exemptions considered). They haven’t really explained why, but I guess it’s because they reserve the right to revoke WFH privileges.

        4. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Can’t speak for hospitals et al but when I worked in virology you absolutely had to have the vaccines or, for some viruses, show significant antibody response indicating a prior infection. The second one didn’t apply to viruses with a high rate of mutation – flu vaccines were mandatory for instance.

          If, for whatever reason you couldn’t be vaccinated at all it would be unlikely you’d have got through your virology degree in the first place.

          I had to leave the virology field for a number of reasons but the main one was becoming disabled. I couldn’t sit on the lab stools or work on my feet.

        5. Cranky lady*

          Removed. I have no way to verify these anecdotes and there was a recent flood of them obviously being used to stir up anti-vaccine sentiment, so at this point I’m just not hosting them here. – Alison

        6. A-RN*

          A coworker has anaphylactic reactions to the flu vaccine, so the COVID one is contraindicated. Flu vaccines were not always required, so she would have gone to school, been licensed and working for several years before finding out. Yes, it’s possible to work in the medical field and have legit medical reasons to not be vaccinated.
          The idea that experienced medical staff should lose employment over a vaccine in the middle of a time when they are desperately needed is wild.
          Over refusing testing though? Yea, that’s straight selfish.

          1. Harper the Other One*

            Yes, saying people who can’t be vaccinated shouldn’t be allowed in health care essentially means people with specific disorders and allergies can’t work in the field, when there are many ways they can contribute! There are lots of ways health care professionals could work around an inability to vaccinate, including testing and working in wards/departments that are less likely to see Covid patients (which incidentally also helps ensure patients with other concerns don’t have medical treatment delayed more than necessary.)

            1. Paul Pearson*

              Obviously variations apply depending on exact role – but yes some people may not be able to work in certain fields and roles. If they can’t be vaccinated and there’s no alternative to that that will render them safe for working alongside clinically vulnerable people then maybe this is just a role they can’t do

              1. Harper the Other One*

                Certain roles, sure. But the whole field of front line medicine, which covered everything from significant hands-on patient care to a five minute interaction for a blood draw? I’m very pro-vaccine, don’t get me wrong – I think everyone who can have it should. But we shouldn’t lose talent in the field because they legitimately can’t get a vaccine when there are so many places they can do good.

                1. Paul Pearson*

                  No I wouldn’t want them for Phlebotomy either. I’d expect staff who are not vaccinated to have no – or at least very very very very little – patient contact at all. Their exemption certificates won’t stop them killing patients

                2. Harper the Other One*

                  @Paul Pearson – sorry, ran out of nesting! I’ll admit I’m a little concerned about this attitude. Not being able to serve patients in a timely manner can also kill when people delay getting critical information; in my area, there’s a real worry that we will see an increase in poor outcomes due to delayed delayed diagnosis/treatment because staff was already short before we had health care professionals having to quarantine etc.

                  The number of people with genuine medical exemptions is low, and they are usually people who are already facing a lot of obstacles. A phlebotomist who isn’t going to be allowed to interact with patients at all has just lost their whole career over something they can’t control. And of course, we’re seeing breakthrough cases among vaccinated people and there’s still research being done on how transmissible a breakthrough case is – so what do we do about that?

                  I’m on board with systems to protect vulnerable patients – assigning them to vaccinated care providers, extra PPE, etc. But I worry that we’re starting to treat people who CAN’T get the vaccine the same as people who WON’T. It’s getting to the point where it feels almost like a purity test – you’re “unclean” or “dangerous” if you aren’t vaccinated, even if it wasn’t by your choice.

                3. Rusty Shackelford*

                  @ Harper the Other One

                  We have medical standards for a lot of occupations. A truck driver who suddenly finds they need narcotic pain relief, or a pilot whose sight deteriorates to the point that it can’t be corrected to a reasonable standard, will find they’re no longer qualified to do those jobs. Why should a health care worker be any different?

                4. Harper the Other One*

                  @Rusty – because there’s a difference between the two scenarios, and we shouldn’t equate them. I would consider this more like a long-haul truck driver who develops seizures – they can continue their career as long as they are appropriately treated/medicated and stop driving if they have symptoms. Similarly, a nearsighted pilot that CAN be corrected to the standard is still allowed to fly.

                  Again, I think anyone who can be vaccinated should – everyone in my family is except the ineligible 10-year-old. But there are people who genuinely can’t and increasingly I see comment sections like this treat them as if they are disease-infested plague carriers, which isn’t compassionate or fair.

                5. Temperance*

                  The thing is, anyone doing any sort of hands-on personal care puts their patient or client at risk by not getting vaccinated. The number of people who truly *can’t* get the shot is extremely low as compared to the number who just won’t. The patients and clients matter more.

                  My grandfather, who was in a nursing home due to memory issues, died last December because a CNA or other aide brought COVID to the home. He, and like a dozen other residents, died because someone exposed them.

                6. YetAnotherAnalyst*

                  @HarperTheOtherOne In my state at least, developing seizures means you lose your license and can’t have it back until you’ve been seizure-free for a year – and if you have another seizure at that point you lose it again. So the vaccine equivalent seems to be that if a health care worker can’t be vaccinated, they lose their license until they can be? That seems harsher than you intended.

                7. Rusty Shackelford*

                  @ Harper the Other One

                  @Rusty – because there’s a difference between the two scenarios, and we shouldn’t equate them. I would consider this more like a long-haul truck driver who develops seizures – they can continue their career as long as they are appropriately treated/medicated and stop driving if they have symptoms. Similarly, a nearsighted pilot that CAN be corrected to the standard is still allowed to fly.

                  I think it’s odd that you said my scenarios were different, and then you deliberately re-wrote them to be different. A truck driver who needs narcotic pain meds is not the same as a truck driver who develops seizures. Someone who can’t get vaccinated is someone who CAN’T be appropriately treated, so why do you consider them comparable? And I specifically said a pilot whose eyesight CANNOT be corrected, so why would you talk about a pilot whose eyesight CAN be corrected?

                8. Meep*

                  The virus doesn’t care. One of my friends died of COVID because he had to go to a hospital for some sort of medical procedure. It was before vaccination was widely available. Some medical worker gave him the virus and he died of it.

                  His right to receive medical care without sacrificing his life should trump a medical worker’s right to work with patients if they can’t get vaccinated for a contagious disease that can kill the patient.

                9. Harper the Other One*

                  @Rusty – I wasn’t very clear in my previous comment. What I was trying to express is that a person being unable to get the vaccine is not prevented from doing their job the way a truck driver on narcotics or a pilot with incorrectible vision would be. I don’t feel those two situations are equivalent.

                  @Temperance – I’m very sorry for the loss of your grandfather. However, as we’re sadly discovering with this wave, full vaccination isn’t a guarantee of preventing exposure. That’s why additional protections like regular testing and PPE still remain so important on the small scale, while vaccination is important on both small and large scales.

                  @YetAnotherAnalyst – my point wasn’t to directly equate seizures with being unable to get the vaccine, but more to say that in other professions, control of risk factors is what we look at. In the case of a truck driver with a seizure, it’s a lack of seizures for a set period of time and/or a medical determination that the seizures won’t return. In the case of being unable to get a Covid vaccine, it could be things like additional layers of PPE, only assigning that person to minimally vulnerable patient populations, and yes, regular testing.

                  I know this is a very tough issue for everyone, and I apologize if I said anything hurtful to anyone. But I really do think we need to have different attitudes to the people who can’t get a vaccine, yet have to live their lives anyway – frankly, they’re all probably at higher risk from us than we are from them.

              2. RabbitRabbit*

                The hospital I work for has mandated flu vaccination since the H1N1 outbreak. Employees wear a sticker on their badges (which gets updated yearly and is distinctive each year) showing whether they are vaccinated. Medical and religious exemptions get reviewed by a committee. If you are unvaccinated you must be masked while working with patients.

                And now that COVID is here, everyone has to mask anyway, you still have to get flu vaccinations or an exemption, and they’re doing the same thing for COVID (vaccination or approved exemption, plus unique sticker, and required vaccination deadline approaching). In the case of COVID, they’re also adding the test requirement for employees who have an exemption.

                In our case, we did have a good plan ahead of time and a good-enough stockpile of PPE including N95s, so on-the-job transmission was rare and should remain so.

                1. Harper the Other One*

                  This seems like an excellent solution, and it sounds similar to what hospitals here have done re. flu vaccines in the past.

            2. Alice*

              Patient-facing in-person healthcare workers should not be unvaccinated. If they can’t or won’t be vaccinated, and they still want to work in healthcare, maybe they can find a space in telemedicine. But the idea that patients who have been shielding should have to accept the possibility of being exposed to an infected unvaccinated healthcare worker because they are experienced and there is a nurse shortage? No way. Solve the nursing shortage with better pay and better organizational culture, not by throwing out everything we know about infection prevention.

              1. Harper the Other One*

                You won’t solve the nursing shortage overnight, though, and there are other methods, like good PPE, that also qualify as infection prevention. There are many patients, including someone like me, who is generally healthy and double vaxxed, who could safely be served by a nurse/other front line professional who is unvaccinated but taking other precautions. Then you could direct vulnerable patients to the vaxxed front line people.

                1. Temperance*

                  Hard disagree. I don’t want an unvaccinated nurse near me, especially not touching me or providing care. I live with someone who is high-risk. So on paper, I’m mostly fine, but he’s not, and he doesn’t deserve to risk catching Rona because someone is unvaccinated and providing patient care.

                2. Nelliebelle1197*

                  As a patient, I have the right not to have someone who can potentially spread a deadly disease with a slip of a mask NOT providing my care. There are very few legitimate medical exemptions to this vaccine.

          2. Blackcat*

            “A coworker has anaphylactic reactions to the flu vaccine, so the COVID one is contraindicated.”

            Just putting this out there–this depends. I have a bunch of anaphylactic reactions to things, including the standard flu shot. I get the nose squirt for the flu, and my allergist was fine with me getting the COVID vaccine. I just had to do it at a hospital-run clinic and sit there for like…. an hour, being monitored and with my epi-pens out next to me.

            To be honest, I’ve gone into anaphylaxis quite a number of times. I also got COVID in March 2020. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve never had an anaphylactic reaction that was impossible to treat or resulted in more than 48 hours of feeling like crap. COVID was way worse. I could barely breathe and felt like death and I wasn’t even hospitalized. It’s a trade off I think is worth it.

            1. Recruited Recruiter*

              I had to do the fun hour wait too, since I have an anaphylactic allergy to a drug that contains one of the ingredients that the Pfizer shot does. Guess that ingredient wasn’t the one I was allergic to, since I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock when it was administered. My doctor had me do it in the ER, and tried to push the ER to let him be there for it. I also got the run around the entire hospital to talk to the experts on the vaccines who were employed there. I almost just waited for Moderna to arrive because of the hassle on my co-workers at the hospital.

            2. Observer*

              Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve never had an anaphylactic reaction that was impossible to treat

              Yes, you’re just lucky. Anaphylaxis can be a killer.

          3. Amy*

            It’s not necessarily contraindicated. My colleague’s son has had anaphylactic reactions to vaccinations. He got his Covid vaccination in the ER in case of anaphylaxis on the recommendation of his doctor. (And he did not end up having a reaction, but they were ready if he did)

        7. Paul Pearson*

          In the UK at least, even viable discrimination complaints come with a “reasonable accommodation” test. So you couldn’t, for example, become a Muslim pig farmer then demand the job change so you don’t come into contact with pigs – there’s no reasonable accommodations that can be sought there which will still allow you to do your job

          I don’t know if this principle has been applied to healthcare workers – but Healthcare professionals already get more vaccines than the average member of the public. If you aren’t vaccinated (and not just to covid) you are putting your clinically vulnerable patient at risk. No accommodation can include “may kill patients”.

          1. Katefish*

            Our U.S. laws on religious accommodation are similarly structured, so the analysis would be the same under our 1st Amendment body of law. Not sure about employment law, which varies state to state here, but I believe that’s similar for workplace accomodations.

        8. fhqwhgads*

          You can be allergic to an ingredient in one vaccine but not another, or an ingredient in one company’s vaccine for a certain disease that isn’t in another company’s vaccine for the same disease. I can’t think of a medical reason someone could not get any vaccine at all. The people opposed to all vaccines aren’t doing it for medical reasons. I do suppose someone might have multiple allergies that rule out quite a few, but when right now we’re talking about “cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons” we’re talking specifically about the currently available COVID-19 vaccines, not vaccination on the whole.

        9. HannahS*

          Doctor here. Not all vaccines are the same. They don’t work in the same way and don’t have the same ingredients. Remember, talking about “vaccines” is like talking about “medication;” politically, they often get lumped together, but medically they’re widely variable. Also, vaccines are given over the course of a lifetime and conditions that make someone unable to tolerate certain kinds of vaccines are not lifelong.

          If someone developed myocarditis after their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or other mRNA vaccine (one of the very few valid reasons for us to hand out exemptions), it doesn’t mean that they didn’t or couldn’t get immunizations for influenza (vaccine contains a “dead” virus), measles (vaccine contains live “weakened” virus), or pertussis (vaccine contains a piece of the bacteria).

          If we’re not able to get the vaccines as expected, usually we’re expected to be stricter with PPE, or will work in areas where the risk of exposure is less. The other consideration is (usually, ugh) herd immunity.
          For example, if I’d had a history of developing a potentially deadly neurological disease after a prior tetanus shot, I wouldn’t have been able to get it during pregnancy to confer some immunity to my baby. I would then be relying on the immunity of my husband, family, and friends to protect her until she gets her own vaccine at 2 months. This is also true in hospitals, where (again, usually) other employees and patients are fully immunized, though of course that’s changing.

        10. quill*

          Some people work in, say, intake billing, radiology, etc. where they would not necessarily be exposed to contagious patients regularly before the pandemic. They also may have aquired a condition that prevents vaccination after receiving all their childhood vaccinations, or only have problems with specific vaccine types. (See egg allergies back when we actually used eggs to make vaccines.)

      2. wittyrepartee*

        Holy crap, what kind of PCR are they using? Last time I did PCR it took a half hour minimum to run enough cycles to amplify DNA. That’s without any processing of a sample…

        1. Sorrischian*

          Yeah, there’s no way a 15-min test is a PCR (that’s what the lab I work in processes, our current total turnaround time for covid samples is 12 to 24 hours and the actual PCR method takes an hour and a half), but some of the enzymatic nucleic acid amplification methods only take 15 to 30 minutes, so if they’ve got a small-volume onsite testing setup running a NEAR or RPA test they might actually be getting results that fast.

    7. Squidhead*

      I live in a US state where there is currently no option to test HCWs. At the end of September, it’s get the shot(s) or don’t work. Even as a vaccinated ICU RN, I have some hesitations about my state’s approach (the nursing staffing crisis is very very real!). OP #1 *has* choices, and choices have consequences. The requirement of paying for testing seems no different to me than, say, wearing sturdy closed-toe shoes or a certain color scrubs (bought at your own expense but required by the employer). And yes, if you show up in flip-flops and cut-off shorts, you should expect to be sent home. Get the shots or get the test or don’t expect a paycheck.

      (Less sternly, testing is paid for by health insurance here and we can get tested at many providers, so I’ll assume the OP is correct in saying they’d have to pay out of pocket but they might want to double check.)

    8. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*


      Also, think for a moment, OP, about the sheer level of fear that high risk people like myself have had to live in for the last….long time. We’ve had to fear every person we see get too close to us, everyone without a face covering, even other people in general when we’ve been told that we’re not as valuable because we’re not healthy so what does it matter if we die?

      Now we have vaccines, quite a few different types with frankly incredible results, and there’s quick and easy tests and we finally felt that the fear could be reduced. Covid is dangerous to everyone of all demographics and believe me I do know a lot about viruses

      So I’m asking, pleading really, to think of others.

      1. LarryFromOregon*


        And if thinking of others is too much to ask: a study just came out indicating that “the jab” (already known to sharply cut risk of infection, of hospitalization, and of death) also cuts in half the risk that infection would lead to “long Covid”.

    9. Student*

      My most recent COVID test was free to me / 100% covered by insurance. No special justification needed, and no workplace requirement in my case. Has the OP checked to see if the testing required even costs money?

    10. Essess*

      Agreed. However, the letter doesn’t make one thing completely clear. If the vaccination exemption is due to a personal CHOICE, then I agree that the OP should be responsible for the cost of the tests. However, if the exemption is due to a physical/medical limitation that the OP cannot control that makes them unable to get the vaccine, then a reasonable company should pay for the testing just like an ADA accommodation.

      If this is a personal choice exemption, the cost of testing is a consequence of that personal choice and OP needs to either accept the consequence of their decision or accept that the company will not risk other employees’ lives due to your OP’s decisions and they should terminate immediately if OP cannot prove that they are not a risk to others.

    11. Justice*

      If I ran the world, if you chose not to get vaccinated, and then also refused to get tested, you wouldn’t need to resign; you’d be frog-marched out by security, and told to pick up the contents of your desk in a box on the curb in the morning.
      It seems pretty clear to me based on tone that this LW doesn’t have any medical exceptions, they’re being irresponsible for their own BS reasons. And their co-workers shouldn’t be forced to work in close quarters with them for another second. And that goes triple for healthcare workers.

    12. hannah*

      very good possibility this is in the US where Covid tests are still covered by insurance so the out of pocket argument is irrelevant

    13. Velawciraptor*

      Exactly. I work in a state where state employees (so everyone in my office) are required to either provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing. Failure to comply gets discipline, up to and including termination.

      I’ve been more blunt with my employees: I will work with you and be flexible about time for testing and vaccination…I want to do what I can to reduce the burden. But if you lie–if you provide false vaccination or testing records–I will straight up fire you and the union is welcome to fight me on it if they want. This is a law office and I can’t employ people I can’t trust.

      1. Velawciraptor*

        And more to the point of Mr. COVID Denier’s question, if he quit in a snit over it, I’d thank him for his notice effective immediately and walk him out myself. You don’t get to endanger your colleagues or our clients to make some sort of stupid point.

    1. Pfiz'rd up*

      I am very surprised LW1 chose to write in, given Alison’s clear and unyielding stance on vaccinations, masking, and other evidence-based COVID protocols. I know that LW asked a specific question (can I be let go before the end of my two weeks because I refuse the vaccine), and perhaps they thought they’d just get a direct answer just to that question only, but seriously. What were they expecting other than “yeah they can, and I hope they do?” We’re in a global pandemic where people are dying and losing their jobs, and they’re going to run out of the Greek alphabet before this shit goes away, AND we could’ve prevented this last surge since the vaccines were available. I live in an area that had reached herd immunity levels, but then Delta and anti-vax protests reached my town…

      I’m tired. Thank you, Alison.

      1. Observer*

        I’m not surprised. We’ve gotten a number of letters here that one would have expected people to realize would get Allison jumping down their throats. People just don’t seem to understand who they are writing to.

  2. Sami*

    Alison FTW! Letter #1: mask, social distance, stay home, pay for required testing, or get vaccinated. Choices have consequences.

    1. Teapotcleaner*

      Covid tests can also often be obtained for free through community testing, health centers and drive through events. I know that rapid PCR tests are costly at the local pharmacy but there are free events and people are welcome to come as often as possible as many times as needed. I agree with you 100 percent

      1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

        Yeah, I was surprised that the OP would need to pay for the test–I’ve gotten tested a bunch, and never had to pay. At least where I am in the US, if you have insurance it’s required to cover the full cost, and city-run testing sites are free no matter what.

        1. Everything bagel*

          When I went into urgent care for testing (I chose the rapid test), they said it would be fully covered under my insurance. I overheard a woman having to pay $75 for the same rapid test but she had insurance through a different company (tot that I was trying to listen, but let’s face it, there’s no privacy in an urgent care waiting room).

          In the interest of staying on topic, I’m also in the US so it may vary state to state.

          1. JR*

            Her insurance company might be breaking the rules. I believe insurance companies are required to cover the testing cost 100%. Either someone is misunderstanding in the case of the woman you overheard, or something shady is going on.

          2. doreen*

            It depends – I have vacation plans and the place I’m going has very specific requirements to obtain travel authorization. In looking for a place to have the testing done, all the labs and urgent cares had a free option but they also had options that would cost the patient money – for example testing done due to symptoms/contact was free, or all testing was either free or cost only your insurance copay – but if you needed the results in 24 hours rather than 72, there was a charge for expediting and so on.

        2. middle name danger*

          Same here – there ARE private practices where you can get a test but pharmacies have openings that are completely free for both rapid and PCR tests. Even though I’m vaccinated I had to get tested to work an event and it was free.

    2. Empress Ki*

      Having a vaccination exemption isn’t a choice. It’s a medical requirement. While it’s rare, some people truly cannot get vaccinated.
      Sure LW should test, but her employer should pay for it.

      1. Kia Kara*

        Not always. Some people are “exempt” on ground of religious belief etc. Exemptions are not automatically medical, and I’d bet you my house it isn’t in this case based on the dogwhistles in the letter.

        1. Temperance*

          And sadly even those largely can’t be trusted. Multiple chiropractors and PCPs have been caught writing blanket exemptions to vaccine and mask requirements.

      2. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

        If the vaccine exemption is a medical requirement, it only makes sense that the exempt person should take every precaution not to get or spread COVID. Stay home, wear a mask and social distance when they do need to leave the house, and get tested in a regular basis if they work outside their home. Anything else is irresponsible. I would absolutely not want to work with anyone who might infect me or anyone else.

        1. middle name danger*

          Yes – anyone with a legitimate reason to not get vaccinated most likely has precarious enough health that they are still terrified of catching COVID. I know a few people in disability advocacy circles this applies to. They’re all still nearly as cautious as in March 2020, double masking everywhere.

          1. I'm just here for the cats!*

            Keep in mind that this person could be healthy but they are alergic to the vaccine. A classmate of mine had to go to the ER after receiving a vaccine (whatever boosters you get when you’re about 12). The county health did them at the school and the girl had a bad reaction. She didn’t have any other underlining conditions, was very healthy. But she was allergic to the vaccine.

            This could be a similar situation. Perhaps the LW has had really bad reactions to similar vaccines in the past and is not taking it for that reason. This is all conjecture because we really don’t know why she is exempt.

            HOWEVER, the LW should be getting tested. I recommend that they look for free testing cites in their area. I think the employer should find out where there are free cites and provide that info to all employees. Not just those unvaccinated but vaccinated as well, because vaccinated folx might want to be sure themselves

          2. Dahlia*

            I have a couple friends who couldn’t/can’t get vaccinated and they straight up just don’t leave the house basically ever.

      3. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        I feel like this is a point made I see made a lot, in bad faith, meant to make the hard-line but ultimately fair stance of “tough luck, choices have consequences” look worse by implication, so let me say this: OF COURSE there are some people with legitimate medical exemptions, and OF COURSE they are not the same as someone who chooses not to get the vaccine for religious or philosophical reasons. NO ONE IS ARGUING OTHERWISE.

      4. Yorick*

        Someone who can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons is also someone who will be at higher risk for complications for COVID. They are likely advised by their doctors to stay home, mask, take all precautions, and get tested whenever it’s possible they may have contracted the virus. These people wouldn’t object to weekly testing. Someone like that might have written to Alison for advise about advocating for the company to pay for testing, but they wouldn’t be planning to quit their jobs because the company is trying to protect them from a deadly virus.

      5. Observer*

        Having a vaccination exemption isn’t a choice. It’s a medical requirement. While it’s rare, some people truly cannot get vaccinated.

        SOMETIMES it’s a medical requirement. And even before the OP responded to Alison (see the note above), it was pretty obvious that the OP was CHOOSING not to vaccinate.

  3. Emily*

    OP #1: I really hope you take Alison’s advice to heart. You seem to want it both ways, you don’t want to get vaccinated, but you also don’t want to have to take a COVID test (if you’re worried about costs since you mention not wanting to have to pay for the COVID test, the COVID vaccine is free…just saying). I would think anyone who has a true exemption to getting the COVID vaccine would be more than happy to get regularly tested to protect those around them.

    1. tangerineRose*

      When I decided to get vaccinated for COVID-19, I was worried about possible long term side effects. Then I thought about the side effects we already know that COVID-19 causes and figured that getting the vaccination was the safer option, so I got the vaccination.

      I can understand why people might be afraid of getting vaccinated. I was. But I’m more scared of COVID-19 than the vaccine.

      1. quill*

        Yeah. I was kind of braced to feel like crap, though I went in enthusiastically. And it turned out fine for me! But a lot of people put it off because they couldn’t afford to be sick even if it was 24 hours of muscle aches or whatever.

      2. MarsJenkar*

        Agreed. I decided to get vaccinated because I felt the known consequences of the virus were worse than the known (and potential) consequences of the vaccine. As time has passed and more has become known about both, I’m more and more confident that I’ve made the right choice.

    2. Empress Ki*

      LW doesn’t say she doesn’t want to be vaccinated. She says she has an exemption.It’s not the same !
      Employer should pay for the test in this case.

      1. ceiswyn*

        LW has an exemption of an unspecified type. Since many states allow religious, philosophical, ‘conscientious’ or other grounds for exemptions, there is no particular reason to assume that the LW’s exemption is a medical exemption, especially as it’s reasonable to believe that the LW would have said if it was.

        I disagree that the employer should pay if the LW has chosen to refuse vaccination.

        Also, I find it VERY INTERESTING that the LW went straight to quitting their job, rather than exploring the idea of their employer paying for the test. That rather suggests that it isn’t the cost that’s the issue, so much as the LW objecting to getting tested at all.

        1. Need More Sunshine*

          BINGO on your last point.

          OP makes no mention of talking to her employer about alternatives and her tone here implies she thinks it’s all BS – to either get vaxxed or tested at all. Maybe that’s not that case, but I feel like that just more shows that she needs a healthy dose in how to professionally communicate her concerns to her employer if they are legitimate concerns and not just “I can’t be effed”

        2. Keymaster of Gozer*

          I somehow missed that bit!

          Yes, it is rather…bizarre to jump straight to ‘I quit’ without discussing things – or asking for advice from, say, AAM about how to phrase opening up accomodation talks with the employer.

          Not saying I’ve never quit a job under moral reasons – I have, but it was after pretty much all other avenues had been exhausted.

      2. Observer*

        LW doesn’t say she doesn’t want to be vaccinated. She says she has an exemption.It’s not the same !

        In this context it IS the same – because (even absent the update), it’s clear that the exemption is NOT medical. Given that reality, there is no reason the employer should pay for it.

    3. Bamcakes*

      I don’t really get everyone answering OP1 as if she’s asking whether it’s fair that she has to take or pay for tests! She’s already decided to leave the job. I mean, that’s a bizarre decision as far as I’m concerned, but if she’s not willing to get vaccinated or test for whatever reason, it’s the logical thing to do. Her question is simply whether she’ll get to work notice or be asked to leave on the spot.

      Everyone obviously has very strong feelings about the vaccine, but this is someone who has already made the decision to leave her job. Berating her for not taking responsibility for the consequences of her actions seems odd when she’s doing exactly that.

      1. Eldritch Office Worker*

        Because, as Alison said, this is going to come up elsewhere and LW needs to be prepared for that

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        The likelihood is she’s going to apply for jobs elsewhere and run into this again – epescially if she stays in the healthcare field and she needs to be prepared for that.

      3. AnonForThis*

        We can’t possibly know whether the employer will ask OP to leave or allow them to work through their notice.

        What we DO know, is that the employer is a healthcare organization that is providing accommodations (testing in lieu of vaccine) when they don’t have to. Other healthcare organizations are mandating vaccination, with no alternatives, or be terminated. Comparatively, this healthcare org is being generous.

        Given the generous alternatives, OP’s stance reads as defiant, entitled, and lacking empathy.
        I think that is what readers are taking issue with, not that she isn’t accepting of the consequences.

        1. AnonForThis*

          and by “no alternatives” I should clarify that I mean very, VERY limited medical exemptions.
          Policies that create space for anti-vaxxers (get tested if you don’t want to be jabbed) are, by contrast, generous.

  4. Generic-username*

    LW #1 – ask them to cover the cost of the tests for you since you have an exemption if that’s the problem, but yeah, you should be doing whatever you can to reduce the risk to others whether that is getting vaccinated or getting tested regularly or excusing yourself from indoor contact with others (particularly in a healthcare setting where people are more likely to be elderly or prone to sickness!)

    1. Nerdgal*

      She says she has a religious exemption. Most of these are based on non-science, or outright lies. Nevertheless, maybe LW1’s “religion” should volunteer to pay for testing.

      1. Essess*

        If OP works in healthcare, it is vital for OP to ensure the health and safety of the people that OP comes in contact with. If it is true that OP is using a health exemption, MOST religions have exemptions for health and safety so OP should have a serious talk with their religious leader because it is likely that OP would be allowed to get vaccinated for the greater good. If not, then OP should be speaking to the religious leader about having testing covered by the religious organization OR OP should consider the cost of testing as part of the ‘tithe’ or other financial donations that are made to that religion by the OP as a cost of being part of that religion.

        1. Essess*

          Edit – My second sentence should say “If it is true that OP is using a religious exemption” (not health).

    2. A Genuine Scientician*

      I’m on board with the employer paying for the tests if it’s a medical exemption (eg if the LW is a transplant recipient and taking immunosuppressants because of that). Making that employee pay for the tests would feel similar to making an employee in a wheelchair pay the costs of a desk that can be adjusted to be as low as they need, which clearly shouldn’t happen.

      If it’s a religious exemption, I would emotionally not support requiring the employer to pay for the tests, but I’d talk with a lawyer about what the legal aspects are.

      1. Generic-username*

        Honestly, same. I was choosing to believe that LW#1 was legitimately not getting the vaccine for a medical reason, but Allison’s post makes it clear I was wrong and that LW#1 is just a COVID-denier, which is upsetting. I think these “you pay it yourself” has been a way employers are trying to get unvaccinated people vaccinated (by making it more difficult to be unvaccinated than vaccinated) and I fully support that.

  5. Cambridge Comma*

    If OP has a vaccination exemption (which I would understand to be a valid health reason for being unable to get the vaccine) having a weekly test that she has to pay for might mean she can’t afford to continue in the job through no fault of her own. Is it really so clear from the letter that she just doesn’t want to?

    1. PollyQ*

      I have no desire to test and also pay for it

      This strongly suggests to me that the cost is not the primary concern. There is also still free community testing throughout the US, so it’s possible there would be no charge, although it’s also possible that the employer wants to do the testing itself and charge for it. I also doubt that the cost of the test is more than the weekly salary, which LW seems willing to give up.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        It’s definitely ambiguous, but not so clear cut that it seems fair to start of with so much outrage towards the OP.
        There are plenty of people, especially in the US, who couldn’t afford an extra unplanned expense like this.

        1. PollyQ*

          If that’s the case, then why didn’t LW say that? “I can’t afford to pay for a weekly COVID test; how can I ask for my employer to cover it?” is a very different question than the one that was asked. LW’s clear determination to leave the job rather than even try to find a solution to any problems with testing is why she’s getting the intense pushback.

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          Losing your salary (and potentially not being able to get another job in your field if the same rule applies everywhere) would presumably be a much bigger financial hardship than paying for testing. However, employers should absolutely pay for the testing to eliminate this excuse.

        3. allathian*

          Then get the darn vaccine, it’s free. The LW doesn’t say that they have a medical exemption. They’re planning to give notice anyway, and their main concern seems to be whether their employer will allow them to work out their two-week notice without requiring a test, or not.

          1. Teapotcleaner*

            Their employer may give the person write ups during their last two weeks for failure to test and then a suspension.

            1. JustaTech*

              Yeah, this isn’t “I’m quitting in 2 weeks anyway, so I don’t want to buy the new uniform” this is “I don’t want to engage in basic safety procedures”.

              You can’t just *decide* not to wear a hardhat or gloves, or walk into the reactor room because you feel like it. Safety regulations are there for a reason and actively flaunting them is an excellent reason for immediate termination.

              So yes, OP1, if, for safety reasons your employer requires testing in lieu of vaccination, then they have every right and duty to fire you immediately.

            1. ceiswyn*

              A religious, philosophical, conscientious or personal exemption. It took me five seconds of Googling to find out the kinds of exemption that are permitted by many states.

            2. Xantar*

              In many US states, an exemption can be a religious exemption or a conscientious exemption. I personally think these shouldn’t exist as a matter of policy, but I’m not a lawmaker. The reason commenters are so suspicious of LW is because people with legitimate medical exemptions are generally eager to say so and also actually wish they could be vaccinated.

        4. MassMatt*

          I don’t think people are outraged so much as they are unsympathetic, and IMO rightly so. I saw stacks of home COVID tests at my local CVS for $12 each; if that is too much to spend to potentially save someone from infection then IMO the LW does not belong in the health care field.

          It’s very hard not to go off on a political rant; I’ll just say I don’t understand the rampant anti vaccine/anti mask current that’s so rampant among large sections of the population.

          1. Avi*

            It’s not even a purely political thing; it’s an expression of the streak of boneheaded, knee-jerk contrarianism that runs deep through our society. While this tendency happens to have been enthusiastically embraced and exploited by certain political elements, it’s sadly not unique to them. One of the most rabidly unreasonable people I know in regards to their Covid opinions approaches it entirely from a crunchy-granola ‘alternative medicine’ viewpoint which has apparently led them to be both dismissive of and actively hostile to any basic precautions in a way that’s functionally indistinguishable from the more politically motivated Covid deniers, to the extent that they latch onto and parrot a lot of the same disinformation.

            1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

              It seems that the normal-to-extreme thinking scale is circular rather than linear, with the extremes of any political persuasion meeting and possibly overlapping.

              1. Kaiko*

                Definitely. Also, somewhat hilariously (if you like your humour tinged with a heavy end-of-days vibe), the folks on the inside of that conversation with declare themselves “the only true lefties/conservatives” and not realize that they have exactly the same views for totally different reasons.

                1. Rachel Greep*

                  There’s a political science theory that views the “left/right” political spectrum not as a straight line, but as a horseshoe. The extremists on each end may believe different things, but have very similar behaviors.

              2. Lenora Rose*

                I wouldn’t say crunchy granola types are actually necessarily that leftist, though. Some are (I know a few) but many of them are more along the lines of “Let’s all just get along/don’t stir the pot/I don’t see colour/put up rainbow flags in June but don’t say boo the rest of the year” just tinged with a greenwashed veneer. I mean, one of the largest advocates I know for UBI is a crunchy granola type, but I’ve seen too many who are closer to Karens than to activists.

              3. Observer*

                It seems that the normal-to-extreme thinking scale is circular rather than linear, with the extremes of any political persuasion meeting and possibly overlapping.


        5. Mina, the Company Prom Queen*

          It is not okay if someone gets a potentially virus just because their unvaccinated coworker couldn’t afford to get tested.

      2. Well...*

        My thoughts exactly. People who are immunocompromised shouldn’t be having to shoulder the financial hardships of regular testing after everything else they’ve gone through in this pandemic.

        The company might not accept free testing. We don’t have enough information about LW1s situation to rush to saying they have no options and should have no options.

        1. Immunocompromised and Vaccinated*

          There’s nothing that indicates the LW is immunocompromised.
          But regardless, just fyi to avoid spreading misinformation, immunocompromised people can indeed get the vaccine, we’re just less likely to respond effectively to it. If it’s relevant to someone in your life, I encourage you to help them look up reliable medical sources and talk to their doctor! (There are some other medical reasons that can make people unable to get vaccinated, but being immunocompromised generally isn’t it.)

        2. Vaxexemption*

          Even if they’re immunocompromised, they can still get the vaccine, and in fact getting it is highly recommended. It just may not be very effective. The only medical reason I can think of for not getting vaccinated is severe allergies to ingredients in all different options available to you.

          1. Vaxexemption*

            (to be clear, I’m sure there are extremely rare diseases or conditions, where you night want to avoid vaccination, it’s just the blanket term “immunocompromised” tells you nothing about medical exemptions. The problem isn’t that immunocompromised people cannot get vaccinated, it’s that they may not mount an adequate defense after being vaccinated, which sucks.)

            1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

              Some immunocompromised people were in the first wave to get vaccinated precisely because they are the most vulnerable to bad outcomes from Covid.

              1. londonedit*

                Yes, that’s how it worked in the UK. It was over-90s first, then over-80s, then over-70s and anyone on the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ list. So my sister had her vaccines at the same time as my parents, in March/April this year. They’re now talking about boosters this winter for the most vulnerable people. Because she takes medication that suppresses her immune system, it’s true that she may not have the same level of immunity from the vaccine as I might do, but the protection is still there and it’s far better than risking actually getting Covid while completely unvaccinated and having a reduced immune system.

                1. UKDancer*

                  Definitely. My father has a compromised immune system and while there are some vaccines he can’t have (shingles for example because it uses a live virus) Covid is not one of them. He was at the front of the queue for it and we celebrated the day the got the second one.

                2. Keymaster of Gozer*

                  The NHS held off on mine because they honestly didn’t know if my combination of ‘things wrong with Keymaster’ meant I couldn’t take the vaccines safely. But, I still got vaccinated in…May I think? Caused my RA to flare up like whoa but other than that I got through it fine.

                  (Husband unit was throwing his guts up for a day after his – irony that he’s the 100% healthy one and got a worse reaction!)

                3. Not your doctor*

                  (Out of nesting – this is a reply to UKDancer)

                  UKDancer, your father should check back with his health care providers. There are now two shingles shots – Zostavax and Shingrix. Zostavax is the live attenuated vaccine that can’t be used in (many) immunocompromised people. Shingrix is a recombinant vaccine that does not contain any live virus, and may be used in people for whom Zostavax isn’t safe.

                  Here’s the NHS page on the two shingles vaccines: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/shingles-vaccination/

                  Both shots are available in the US as well; I didn’t look up worldwide approvals. In the US, Shingrix is approved for ≥50 years old, while Zostavax is still approved for ≥60 only.

        3. DataSci*

          Many immunocompromised people can get the vaccine. My son’s reading tutor is a transplant recipient, and not only got the vaccine but just got his third (booster) dose.

        4. Temperance*

          No. People who are immunocompromised are largely advised to get vaccinated, and then to also get a booster.

          This person said “exemption”, not medical exemption.

    2. LilacLily*

      that’s the same thing I was thinking! some people are allergic to components of the vaccine and can’t take it, hence the exemption letter she rightfully delivered to her employer, and I don’t know about the US but private COVID tests are REALLY expensive in the UK! being expected to take them weekly out of pocket is, well. I understand why OP#1 has to take the tests, but paying for them out of pocket might not be feasible or fair to them, especially if they have a legitimate reason not to take the vaccine.

      Alison’s usually good at answering people’s questions logically and unbiased, but this time I gotta say I’m disappointed :(

      1. Quoth the Raven*

        Getting a free Covid test in my country is an exercise in madness and paying for them is not exactly cheap either, so I do get how the cost would be a burden and I understand not everyone can cover it, let alone weekly .

        That said, I feel what’s rubbing me the wrong way is that, with the wording, OP comes across as not wanting to get tested (“I have no desire to test and also pay for it”) to the point they’re willing to quit over it, rather than being unable to get tested for whatever (valid) reason. If instead OP had asked about how to get the cost of the tests reimbursed or covered, I feel the answer would be different.

      2. Tali*

        Yeah I think the answer to this really hinges on how easy/cheap testing is. In my country I hear that tests are hard to obtain, and if you don’t have a medical reason to get tested (doctor’s orders, suspected close contact) then they can run 100-300 USD. It would be incredibly unreasonable to require weekly testing at employee expense under those circumstances.

        It is clear to me that the employer has implemented weekly testing as a deterrent to employees holding out on getting vaccinated. As long as it is reasonable for people with real medical exemptions to follow, I don’t see a problem with requiring regular testing.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Perhaps because you’re not in the U.S. you don’t recognize the dog whistles in the letter, but this is extremely unlikely to be someone with a legit medical exemption.

        1. Marzipan Shepherdess*

          I agree! After all, if the LW had a legitimate medical reason for not being able to take the vaccine, surely they’d have led with that statement – it would’ve been in the first sentence. And even if they DID have an actual medical reason for having to decline the vaccine (spoiler alert – they don’t!), that would not have prevented them from being
          tested. A responsible adult with a real “medical exemption” would want to be tested MORE often to ensure that they didn’t have COVID and weren’t passing it on to others!
          Ahh…no. Just no!

        2. Paperdill*

          Perhaps this is very much a US thing?
          I live in a different country and actually work as a vaccinator – its my job to determine if people are safe to receive the vaccine. So my HCW mind immediately went to “Oh, they have an exemption – they must have [brainstorm of potential medical conditions]”.
          Hence, I was quite shocked to read your response, Alison, because that was simply not the direction my thoughts we going at all.
          Isn’t cultural context a funny thing?

          1. FemalePhenotype*

            It was the word “exemption” that led my mind there. The idea that you can be “exempt” due to a preference rather than a physical need feels weird and wrong.

          2. Myrin*

            I mean, I’m in Germany and this letter gave me the exact same feeling as it did Alison and the US commentariat, so make of that what you will.
            Possibly your job which makes you deal with (medical) exemptions probably on a daily basis is what’s guiding your impression most of all here.

            (It’s also not really a cultural angle but a… literary one, maybe? Gleaning unsaid information from texts as they’re written.
            The very matter-of-fact, clipped, straightforward way OP writes, short sentences without much explanation or additions to them, is usually used by people who
            1) just speak/write like that and generally aren’t very engaging writers, either because they’re more used to a technical, “non-fiction” writing style or simply because they don’t write a lot at all, fullstop, and don’t have much experience with it
            2) want to obfuscate what they’re really talking about and try their darndest to sound casual and reasonable via giving minimal information and sounding factual/unemotional/almost detached about it.

            We’ve had letters like 1) in the past, not doubt, but I’m absolutely willing to bet that it’s 2) in this case.

            You would expect someone who has a bona fide reason for their exemption to mention that at least in some way, even if just “I have submitted a vaccination exemption because of my [severe illness]”.
            The fact that OP didn’t add anything like that whatsoever anywhere in her letter, coupled with “I have no desire to test and also pay for it.” AND that she’s already planning on quitting over this (on the very date the new rule will go into effect) without mention of any talk with a higher-up or HR about her exemption very, very strongly reads to me like someone who already knows that most people aren’t going to agree with her and who has accepted that but who also wants to make the most out of it if in any way possible.)

            1. Tau*

              Also German, and although at first I was taken aback by Alison’s response on reread I went to the same place. The fact that the primary concern isn’t “this is a financial burden, how can I get my employer to take it on?” but “how can I keep working for as long as possible without getting tested or vaccinated?” is… pretty strong evidence in a certain direction.

              Like, it’s possible that this person is a terrible writer who is either somehow unaware of the state and history of COVID-19 vaccination discussions in much of the Western world or completely blind to how their letter comes off in that context, who has an exemption on medical grounds, is being asked to pay for a test that they cannot afford (as opposed to the free or very cheap options available in many places), has already looked into and ruled out the possibility of their company offering to shoulder the financial burden or agree to a cheaper type of test[1], and is now so panicked about the loss of income that they’ve fixated on drawing out their employment as long as possible without realising that asking to be able to come into work in person while unvaccinated and untested is asking to subject their coworkers to unconscionable risk. Possible. But I’m not holding my breath, you know?

              [1] the once-weekly thing did make me wonder whether it was a PCR test, which – those are 5o euros over here so I can definitely see that being a financial strain on a weekly basis. But I can get antibody self-tests from my local drugstore for less than 1 euro a piece.

          3. Ana Gram*

            I work as a vaccinator in the US and we don’t turn people away for anything, really. You showed up to get the shot, you get the shot. We have a list of questions to ask but assume you and your doctor have come to this decision together. We also have a medic response team and ambulance in the parking lot so we’ll deal with any unexpected responses.

            Very interesting to see different countries/cultural responses to this letter.

          4. münchner kindl*

            I think the cultural difference is that some US states allow non-medical exemptions from vaccination, too, whereas countries whose government follows science instead of populism, only medical exemptions are allowed in the first place at all.

            So non-US might interpret “exemption= medical”, but those following US news might know context and interpret “no medical reason mentioned = non-medical exemption”.

            1. Liz T*

              All US states must allow religious exemptions as well as medical–though no states have an across-the-board vaccine mandate regardless of what field you’re in.

              Individual employers can require it–but by federal law, must AT LEAST allow exceptions for medical conditions or “sincerely held religious beliefs.” But some cities and states are doing a “soft mandate” where you just get a CHOICE between vaccination and weekly testing.

                1. JustaTech*

                  And neither do Mississippi or West Virginia. And they haven’t had any non-medical exemptions for decades.

                  (I was at a vaccine conference soon after the California law about exemptions was passed and we had to have security because anti-vaxxers tried to crash our conference. In 2018! It was wild and honestly kind of scary.)

              1. Lady Meyneth*

                I can one-up you! We have not only religious but also *philosophical* exemptions here. Like, “my health is ok with the vaccine, my religion is ok with the vaccine, but I, all of myself, do not want to take it”. I can’t even with covidiots and the lengths government are going to appease them.

                I guess I need to step out of this thread. :(

        3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Am in the UK and even here that letter tripped the ‘here’s someone who’s just being combative for no reason’ bells. Mostly it’s the tone of it, the ‘I refuse’ rather than ‘can I get the firm to make reasonable accommodations such as ensuring others don’t infect me, or financial help toward the test?’ which I’d totally understand (I’ve got someone on staff who legitimately cannot be vaccinated, is a fantastic techie and very nice and I’ll move the earth to keep them safe).

          1. Blue*

            Absolutely this. “I have no desire to…’ just isn’t the language of someone who isn’t able to be vaccinated for health reasons but takes Covid safety seriously. IME, people who medically can’t be vaccinated are generally very punctilious about other safety precautions, because by definition those people are at risk. They also tend to be very upfront about their specific reasons for not being jabbed, because they don’t want people to be wondering if they’re antivaxxers or Covid deniers! Of course there are exceptions, but everything about the tone of this letter makes me think that’s not what’s happening here.

          2. LDN Layabout*

            Yup, this is the language of the anti-vaxx. Partly because most people who cannot get the vaccine for legitimate reasons are more than happy to deal with frequent testing because their other risk factors mean they’re more at risk of death.

          3. Ginger*

            completely agree. Someone who really can’t would phrase things differently. People like this annoy me because they make life harder (and more dangerous) for those who legitmately can’t get jabbed.

        4. Amey*

          Yes, even pre-Covid, I’m in a Facebook parenting group for an education system I enjoy but which does attract anti-vaxxers. This is a carefully moderated group and vaccination talk is banned but I eventually worked out that when people talked about ‘medical freedom’ as an important issue for them (often why otherwise politically liberal people wouldn’t vote for a liberal party), they were ALWAYS and exclusively talking about mandatory childhood vaccination. There are code words that people use and this letter is full of them.

          For what it’s worth, I’m grew up in the US (with mildly anti-vax parents) and live now in the UK and this is absolutely a cultural difference. You’re very unlikely to get spurious vaguely religious exemptions for things here.

        5. Old Admin*

          Letter #1 sounds very much like a US letter (two weeks notice etc. are US specific).
          I just wanted to mention that there are all sorts of programs providing FREE Covid tests to US residents without health insurance, for example at Walgreen’s and CVS (I recently booked one there).
          OP#1 doesn’t have a financial hardship excuse.

          1. Gipsy Danger*

            Two weeks notice is standard in Canada as well, and for what it’s worth, it’s very possible OP is in BC, as we are just about to require all long-term care staff to be vaccinated or to test regularly.

      4. allathian*

        The thing is that every manufacturer has different additives in their vaccines, if one isn’t suitable, another one might be. This is just a covidiot who doesn’t want to get the vaccine for whatever reason, and doesn’t want to get tested either. I don’t think such people should be allowed to work in healthcare at all.

        1. Prairie*

          Oh this is interesting. Where I live “covidiot” is what ani-vax/anti-mask call people who are concerned about covid. Sounds like the opposite is true in your area.

          1. Lenora Rose*

            I’ve mostly seen the term refer to the people who spread the “it’s a hoax” conspiracies, but my sampling pool is mostly the heavily pro-vaxx people. On more public comment threads, when I’ve dipped in my toe, I’ve seen it go both ways and you had to figure out which group was being referred to as idiots by context.

      5. nodramalama*

        It’s pretty rare for allergies to mean that you can’t get any of the different types of the covid vaccine though. Food allerges/hay fever etc are not affected by the vaccines, and the different vaccines have different components to them so that you would likely be able to use another vaccine if you had an allergy to one of the components.

        It is much more likely that this person does not want the vaccine.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          Just recently reassured a coworker that none of the vaccines contain egg! I was surprised how many people I knew were avoiding getting the jab because of egg allergies.

          1. Blue*

            Yeah, there also are – not none, definitely- but very few people who genuinely cannot be vaccinated. I have a friend who has MCAS – her body responds to any kind of stress or surprise by throwing her into anaphylaxis, basically – who had to be admitted to hospital to get the jab so that they could have a crash cart standing by in case she reacted badly. But she got it, and she was fine.
            That doesn’t mean everyone can! Medical exemptions are real. But they’re also a lot rarer than most people think, and doctors here are recommending that a lot of people take the risk, because the risk of Covid is so much greater.

            1. Siege*

              Better to get the shot and check your antibody levels later than assume preemptively you can’t get the shot, or at least that’s the experience among the immunocompromised in my friend group.

            1. Lance*

              I assume because it’s a common thing in flu shots (or at least I imagine it must be, since I’ve seen that type of allergy asked about nearly every time I’ve gotten one), so they’d want to make sure since this virus has similar symptoms.

            2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

              The flu shot uses eggs in part of the production process (which is why the US has effectively a strategic egg reserve!), so folks with egg allergies can’t get the flu shot. Some folks have assumed the covid shot was the same.

              1. RabbitRabbit*

                There are egg-free versions! These are less common so you may need to call around to find out who has it in stock.

            3. RabbitRabbit*

              Many influenza vaccines, including the nasal spray version, are cultured in eggs, so they may contain egg-based proteins that could trigger anaphylaxis in people with egg-based allergies. Some of the vaccines are cell-derived so no eggs needed for those.

              My workplace (hospital) does mass flu vaccination days for employees as well as walk-ins at Employee Health, so many times there were questions about egg allergies on the intake forms.

              1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

                That doesn’t always mean anything. My hospital asks about pregnancy on the flu vaccine form even though 1) that might be illegal and 2) pregnant people are actually recommended to get the flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy. And it’s a hospital. So information out there from Employee Health isn’t always good.

                1. RabbitRabbit*

                  OK, I’m sorry you had a bad experience with your workplace, but many influenza vaccines ARE cultured in eggs, so people with egg allergies still need to request an egg-free version.

                2. Coenobita*

                  My understanding is that the pregnancy question is standard on flu shot consent forms – it’s because pregnant people shouldn’t get the nasal spray (live attenuated) version but rather the injected (inactivated) version. But of course I understand that getting asked about pregnancy at work is not ideal!

            4. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Influenza viruses have a natural host in avians – so when we needed to culture them up in the lab for testing/their proteins/whatever we used eggs as the virus replicated far better in that than in any of the human line cell cultures.

              Thus, it wasn’t always possible to get a flu vaccine totally free of egg protein and people with egg allergies were told to avoid them. This *has* changed as there are now egg free variations but there’s still a cultural misunderstanding in my area at least that ‘vaccines = contain egg’

          2. Richard Hershberger*

            The here is that these people don’t think to ask their doctor about this. Doctors take anaphylaxis very seriously. This is not a concern they dismiss out of hand.

          3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            I was advised by my dr to be cautious due to my iodine allergy but to definitely go get my jabs. What ended up happening is that I had to wait 40 mins after both of my shots instead of the typical 15 minutes. You can get vaccinated with allergies – you just have to discuss it with your doctor first.

      6. Asperusual*

        UK here too, and free Covid tests are available from all pharmacies. Hope that saves you some money.

        1. BubbleTea*

          Lateral flow tests are free and readily accessible, but PCR tests are only free if you have symptoms or need to test for work as a key worker. The tests you need for leisure travel abroad have a cost, and rightly so in my view. We’ve (the UK) already sent two variants around the world. People shouldn’t be travelling for leisure anywhere near as much as they are.

          1. Tara*

            They’ve never checked symptoms for a PCR though. Now there’s not a shortage I’ve been getting the free ones semi-regularly/before I see any of my family. They probably can’t be used for work, but it’s not difficult to get a free PCR, at least where I am.

        2. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Yup – got a whole box of them from the local pharmacy here in the UK. Just went in, said ‘I’m going to see family soon do you have any Covid tests I can take before I leave?’ and walked out with a free box )

      7. Bagpuss*

        LilacLily, it’s correct that some people are allergic, but as has been mentioned upthread, it is surprising that the OP didn’t expressly state that they are unable to get the vaccine, and didn’t query whether the company paying would be a reasonable adjustment in the circumstances.
        In the US as I understand it people can also claim an exemption on the basis of belief (although to the best of my knowledge, no major / mainstream religion opposes or forbids the vaccine, and many actively support it).

        IF the OPs exemption is due to a severe allergy meaning that they cannot get the vaccine then it would be reasonable for them to ask their employer to cover the cost of testing as a reasonable adjustment but the wording of the letter doesn’t suggest that that’s the case.

        (Also, and just for the record, the only situation where you may need a private test in the UK is if you are entering the country from overseas, or if you need one in order to board a flight out of the country. )

      8. Agent Diane*

        In the UK the lateral flow device test, aka rapid test, is freely available and tests whether you are asymptomatic and should be self-isolating. These are the ones used in schools, and that I use before travelling, socialising etc. If there is no pharmacy or similar offering the packs in your area, you can order them from the NHS website and have them delivered.

        You do the test and have the result in 30 minutes. If it is positive, you self-isolate and order a free PCR test.

        Private PCR tests because you want to go abroad cost but those are part of the costs of deciding a week in Italy is worth the risk of catching or spreading COVID. I do think if work requires you to travel overseas they should pay for the PCR tests and any quarantine costs.

        But “COVID tests are really expensive in the UK” is misleading: the type of tests workplaces and schools require are FREE.

        1. Amey*

          Yes! That statement is absolutely wrong. If this person was in the UK, they’d certainly be asked to do lateral flow tests which would probably be provided free by their employer but if not they can pick up free packs from the pharmacy.

          My employer (a university) expects all staff working on-site to test with lateral flow twice a week, regardless of vaccination status and this is really fine and easy. I’m glad if it – I and most of my coworkers are fully vaccinated but I have suspicions about my manager…

        2. CreepyPaper*

          UK-based here. Work paid for us all to have those private PCR tests before we returned to the office and when we did we were given a pack of lateral flow tests, a packet of masks and some hand sanitiser. We have a lot of high risk people at work (me included) so they aren’t taking any chances. Am glad to see I fall into one of the groups for a booster jab too!

      9. Clewgarnet*

        Also UK. A private PCR test suitable for travel is expensive, but workplaces/schools/etc. usually only require a lateral flow test. You can pick those up free from pretty much any pharmacy. Alternatively, schedule a free test at an NHS testing centre. I’ve just checked my local centres, and I can get a test this evening, no charge.

      10. ceiswyn*

        Private lateral flow tests in the UK are REALLY cheap. By which I mean, free.

        Are there really workplaces that are requiring private weekly PCR tests?

        1. LDN Layabout*

          Just FYI private ones are not really cheap, they’re at the £25-30 level. Ones provided by the NHS? FREE!

          (The ones you see in Boots and other pharmacies are still NHS provided vs. the ones they do for travel etc. which are private).

          1. ceiswyn*

            To be honest, I didn’t even know there were such things as ‘private’ lateral flow tests that you paid money for. Why would anyone do that when you can get a pack of 7 for free?!

            1. LDN Layabout*

              So, I, double vaxxed, will be going abroad next week to visit family I haven’t seen in a year.

              I still need to get tested prior to travel and this country in particular accepts both PCR and rapid-antigen results for travel.

              And the rules are the tests have to come from an ‘approved’ provider aka Bojo’s mates getting a bung.

      11. ecnaseener*

        The *logical* answer to the LW’s question is still the same. Will they let LW work out their two weeks notice? No, probably not since their presence will put people in danger.

        1. Momma Bear*

          Right. We are down in the weeds when that’s not the question. I would expect the LW to be fired before the two week notice is up, or at the very least asked to stay home.

      12. Northern Neighbour*

        The U.S./ Canada/ U.K. have other vaccine options though – there are super rare allergies to PEG in the mRNA vaccines, but even those, they are finding that they can be administered with the guidance of an allergist. But if people don’t want them, there are the two viral vector vaccines that don’t have allergy-inducing components. So it’s definitely possible to get vaccinated. And as others have pointed out, immunocompromised individuals were prioritized for it.

        People are generally pretty clear about why they can’t get vaccinated if they have a genuine medical exemption, but OP doesn’t lay that out, and OP also doesn’t indicate that there is a concern about cost – OP is just very dismissive of the whole approach. That’s what people are reacting to here, and that’s what Alison is responding to. It’s not an illogical or biased response given the content in the letter.

      13. Observer*

        some people are allergic to components of the vaccine and can’t take it, hence the exemption letter she rightfully delivered to her employer,

        Except you really have to be ignoring what the OP says to really buy that they are allergic.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      For me it’s the framing of the letter. It would be completely reasonable to request that testing costs be covered due to their exemption – why aren’t they writing for advice about advocating for this? Why did they jump straight to quitting? They come across like they’re acting On Principle because their main concern is to work through their notice while flouting the company’s safety measures rather than figuring out a mutually agreeable resolution.

      1. AllTheBirds*


        OP1, just go ahead and quit now. Open your position up to someone who believes in, you know, science.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They wrote, “I have no desire to test.” This is someone who doesn’t believe the science on Covid/has bought into the politicization of it, not someone who’s just worried about the expense.

      1. Guacamole Bob*

        And OP appears to be quitting her job over this requirement! It’s not 100% clear but that’s definitely how I read it. And even if that’s not the case, she’s putting in her notice so this requirement will only apply to her for a week or two, max. Definitely not someone with a reasonable question about who’s paying for it or whether the employer will accept rapid antigen instead of PCR tests.

      2. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Yup, the wording is very much ‘I’ve got no desire for any of this nonsense and I’m going to quit my job over it’ which is rather akin to the’cheap ass rolls’ letter in terms of tone IMHO.

        1. Lady Meyneth*

          Alright – checks archive – THANK YOU for letting me know this letter existed. I needed the laugh today!

          1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

            If you’re looking for more ‘I know I’m right and why am I being punished for it?’ posts also try the ‘I got fired for showing initiative (and undermining my manager)’ one.

            1. Roberta JJ Howey*

              and we can’t forget the beautiful “I and the other interns protest this professional-clothing policy and were fired”
              (she did appear to grow from it, which is more than I can assume we will get from OP1).

    5. Healthcare adjacent*

      The large healthcare adjacent company I work at has announced a vaccine mandate. I am not sure what their policy is for those who don’t comply or the exact steps for exemption (didn’t bother looking since I am vaxxed) but they do have a religious as well as medical exemption allowance.

      1. allathian*

        I just hope that those with an exemption aren’t allowed to work with patients and are required to wear full PPE even if they’re working with other people who work with patients. The virus doesn’t care why someone refuses the vaccine.

        1. lazuli*

          Christian Scientist and Jehovah’s Witness are the two I’ve seen identified in the US as having official stances against vaccines.

          1. TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt*

            It’s highly unlikely that a Christian Scientist would be working in the health/medical industry anyway, so I doubt that would be relevant to the OP. Besides which, the tenets of the CS faith require members to uphold the law of the land, so if you were required to be vaccinated to do whatever your job is, you would most likely do it. I know Christian Scientists who have accepted vaccines, mainly for the sake of community cohesion.

            1. A Christian Scientist*

              This! A Christian Scientist working in healthcare is a pretty difficult thing for me to imagine, to be honest. You’d either have to be very far removed from the healthcare part of it (ie, an accountant at a hospital, maybe) or only a very lackadaisically practicing CS.

              And, in fact, our “official stance” against vaccines is pretty weak to start with. We have very, very few official stances on anything, and in the case of the covid vaccine our leadership has come out with a statement that boils down to encouragement to get the shot on the basis of loving one’s neighbor and following the Golden Rule.

            2. ele4phant*

              Yes – as someone raised but not a practicing Christian Scientist, it may depend on the individual but some are willing to do things like get vaccinated or tested if it means something to someone else. They have the attitude that this isn’t something I believe in, so it makes no difference to me either way but I’ll do it if it makes others more comfortable.

              Some are more hardline about it, but yes, also, they probably wouldn’t be working in healthcare either.

          2. Empress Penguin*

            This is interesting to me – I’m in the UK and have a JW colleague who was absolutely first in the queue to get vaccinated, as was the rest of her very religious family.

          3. Temperance*

            Christian Scientists largely do follow vaccination schedules, even though they don’t believe in it. There’s someone here who is a member of that faith and very kindly explained it in the past. Cannot remember who it was, but they aren’t the anti-maskers.

          4. lazuli*

            Thank you all for correcting me! I had wondered myself a few months ago and found a newspaper article identifying those two; I’m glad the paper overstated it and/or the religious guidance shifted.

        2. NeutralJanet*

          Some Catholics object to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine specifically because the development of that vaccine involved stem cell research–I think they’re okay with Pfizer and Moderna, though, as those did not involve stem cells.

        3. chai latte*

          I believe there are some religiously-justified anti-vax Orthodox Jews as well.

          *disclaimer: not offering a judgement on religious exceptions for vaccines, not offering judgement. Also it might be only a certain segment of conservative Jews, I’m not Jewish myself & not well versed in the religion. Apologies in advance if my terminology or my information is off.

          1. Metadata minion*

            I’m not saying there aren’t Orthodox Jews who’ve found some way to justify being anti-vax, but Judaism is in general extremely pro-medicine and there are some really interesting examples people have been bringing out in the last few months of rabbis from the 17 or 18oos arguing that their congregations were religiously *obligated* to get vaccinated against smallpox.

            1. Kit*

              Oh yes, the mainstream Jewish thought is that all Jews are obligated to be vaccinated unless there is a strong medical case against it, because of pikuach nefesh. Vaccinations are literally in the defense of both oneself and vulnerable others!

              I did see someone claiming to be Jewish and claiming that she refused to be vaccinated because they weren’t kosher, but… if you’re eating the vaccine, you’re doing it wrong, Susan. (‘Claiming to be Jewish’ here because she’s an active congregant in a Christian church, fwiw. Randos on Twitter, idefk anymore.)

              1. Observer*

                I did see someone claiming to be Jewish and claiming that she refused to be vaccinated because they weren’t kosher, but… if you’re eating the vaccine, you’re doing it wrong, Susan.

                LOL. Yeah, no one is eating these things. But, the truth is that I’ve seen this come up before (not necessarily in the context of vaccination.) And it’s just an incredible misunderstanding of the rules.

          2. Observer*

            I believe there are some religiously-justified anti-vax Orthodox Jews as well.

            No. Three ARE Orthodox Jews who say that they are basing themselves on religious tenets, but in fact, they are not. Their arguments range from ignorance (like you look up the source they claim and it turns out that they are just wrong about what it says) to flat out lies about what Judaism requires.

            The MOST you can say is that it’s possible that Judaism does not REQUIRE vaccination. (A good many Rabbis would disagree with that, but that’s a more complicated argument.)

          3. Sparrow*

            There are Haredi (very right-wing Orthodox) Jews who oppose vaccinations, but I’m not sure whether they’re using religious justifications or just general distrust of modern science. And in some cases, their own rabbis have spoken out against these attitudes.

            As far as I know, every major non-Haredi Jewish movement in the United States has come out with a statement that vaccines are not only religiously permitted, but religiously required.

      2. ThisIsTheHill*

        Healthcare adjacent here, too. I just looked up our policy (because I’m vaxxed, never paid attn when it was announced). My employer puts you on unpaid leave for 14 days if you’re not compliant “during which time [the employee] may reconsider their decision”. If you haven’t started the process after 14 days, you’re considered a voluntary resignation, which also makes you ineligible for unemployment.

    6. Ele4phant*

      Perhaps I shouldn’t assume but I imagine someone that can’t get vaccinated for a medical reason would be very keen to make that clear.

      Furthermore, if they have a medical reason they can’t get vaccinated, that probably also means they are high risk of severe illness from the virus, and therefore will be eager for whatever protections they can get.

      To me LW1 read like someone that just didn’t wanna.

      1. learnedthehardway*

        Agreed. I also think that someone who can’t get the vaccine for bonafide medical reasons themselves would be much more likely to express concern about the safety and health of colleagues and patients, rather than just an unwillingness to get tested. The writer’s lack of concern for anyone else REALLY rubbed me the wrong way.

      2. londonedit*

        Absolutely. You’d expect someone who couldn’t be vaccinated for a genuine medical reason to be even more keen on doing regular testing and taking all the necessary precautions. This is not ‘My employer wants us to pay for our own Covid tests and I don’t think that’s fair’, it’s ‘I’ve got myself an exemption, I don’t want to do any tests and I certainly don’t want to pay for them’. Sounds like someone who doesn’t believe Covid is a big deal – and they’d be putting their colleagues and anyone else they came into contact with at risk.

      3. Harper the Other One*

        I agree in the case of this particular LW, but I think people (justifiably!) get tired of having to argue their case. I mentioned above that my boss has a rare autoimmune condition – until last month her doctors hadn’t approved her to get the vaccine. She’s spent six months getting bombarded by people about did you get the vaccine yet, why not, well you should ask your doctor, it’s important and I’m sure it’s safe for you… Merely saying “I have an exemption for now” was not enough, and it was exhausting for her – and she works from home for her own business, so this was just from friends/professional contacts on Zoom and the phone.

        TL;DR I don’t think we should judge based on how much information about their health/medical conditions someone is willing to give.

        1. ele4phant*

          I mean, I don’t know your boss or what they said exactly when asked, but I would think an easy answer for them would’ve been “I hope to get vaccinated eventually, but I have a medical condition and my doctor has advised me to wait for now.”

          That’s not any harder or more revealing to say than just “I have an exemption” particularly when the latter is guaranteed to come with a barrage of questions.

        2. Observer*

          It depends on the context. In THIS context, it is ABSOLUTELY reasonable to judge based on what the OP says. Especially since the explicit rule is to take posters at their word, so all the medical information that the OP would need to share is “can’t get vaxxed per my doctor’s advice”.

    7. Dragon Toad*

      Exemption doesn’t just mean valid medical reason. It can also mean religious reason (which is on its own borderline fraudulent), or – given the number happy to sign a paper for money – false medical reasons.

      1. Ele4phant*

        Re – the religious exemption, I was raised a Christian scientist and wasn’t given childhood vaccines (don’t worry I’ve caught up as an adult) due to my parents sincerely held beliefs.

        And as a free thinking adult, I think that’s wrong.

        Your right to practice your faith should end when it impacts someone else – and you potentially passing on an illness to others most certainly is an impact on others.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*


          That doesn’t mean you should have to accept the vaccine, but it does mean you have a moral obligation to avoid situations where you could be a vector. A healthcare environment, for example, or a crowded nightclub.

        2. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          So very much yes. If a person’s beliefs mean they can’t get vaccinated, MY beliefs think they should stay the hell home.

        3. Bagpuss*

          Exactly. And as I understand it (certainly true in the UK)a sincere religious belief is in a similar category to a disability – it doesn’t mean that the employer has to accept every exemption or accommodation you ask for, it mean that they must make reasonable accommodations for you, and there will be some situations where there it isn’t possible, or where the specific accommodation offered is not the one the employee wanted but *is* reasonable. (and here, what is reasonable is looked at case by case, as what’s reasonable where the employer is a big company may not be reasonable for a small one, and what is reasonable in (say) an office may not be in a warehouse or a hospital)

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            And a reasonable accomodation could well be “ok, but you need tested once a week.”

            I think compny should pay though, if tests are not freely available.

    8. Caroline Bowman*

      It is possible, but feels very unlikely. If she has a medical exemption, then of course she needs to raise that with her manager to come to an equitable arrangement, but in all other cases, no and nope.

    9. Carlie*

      In the US, Walgreens and Rite-Aid pharmacies offer free testing, and those are just the two I know about. If the issue is actually the cost, there are many ways around it.

    10. Jen*

      Agree. Taking op at her word if she has an exemption and has a legit reason not to get the vaccine than having to pay for a weekly test because she can’t get the vaccine seems to punish her for something she doesn’t have a choice about and/or is cost prohibitive

      1. ceiswyn*

        Sure, but the OP isn’t asking about how they can get their employer to fund the tests; cost doesn’t seem to be their main concern at all. They’ve gone straight to resigning over having to do tests at all.

    11. ThatGirl*

      I feel like the *actual* question the LW has is “will they walk me out right away or can I work two more weeks” but that’s being overlooked in favor of arguing over what kind of exemption they have. Seems they are committed to not getting vaccinated, not testing, and getting fired for it.

    12. What She Said*

      Not only do I get the impression they do not want to test just because but I honestly wondered if they were quitting to avoid testing.

    13. Esmeralda*

      exemptions can also be granted for religious reasons, I believe. THe employer may allow other reasons.

    14. Observer*

      If OP has a vaccination exemption (which I would understand to be a valid health reason for being unable to get the vaccine)

      Why would you assume that? This is not a situation where it’s reasonable to think that the OP left out a small detail because they are trying to keep things brief. Even without the confirmation that Allison posted, it’s clear from the letter that they “have a formal exemption” NOT a “medical exemption” or “medical reason that they can’t get vaxxed”.

      Is it really so clear from the letter that she just doesn’t want to

      Yes. see above.

  6. PollyQ*

    I had my first COVID test last week. It was maybe 20 seconds of mild discomfort. I can see not being thrilled to have to pay for it, but other than that, I can’t imagine why LW#1 wouldn’t just get tested, for their own peace of mind and that of their co-workers. You’re really willing to give up paid employment over this?

    1. Bagpuss*

      Yes – I’m doing twice weekly lateral flow tests and have had multiple PCR tests, most of which have been for research purposes rather than because of symptoms or potential exposure.
      It’s not fun but it’s not a major hardship either.

      And I note that OP doesn’t say that tests are not available or unaffordable, she just doesn’t want to have to test.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yes I am not wild about sticking a swab up my nose as it usually results in a long sneezing fit but I do it because its necessary. In the scheme of things it’s a fairly minor thing to do.

        1. Agent Diane*

          We did a practise with the tween and explained that sneezing means the swab has hit the right spot. ;)

        2. Keymaster of Gozer*

          It’s definately triggered my gag reflex a fair few times, but I think it was someone here who gave me the advice about clenching my thumb to suppress it – which I gotta say, does work for me.

          1. londonedit*

            The latest couple of batches I’ve had from the NHS ordering service have been different – it’s just a nose swab, five circles in each nostril, and then you leave the swab in the reagent stuff for a minute before putting it on the test strip. It’s way more straightforward than the ones they were sending out before.

            I know people say they aren’t very effective and whatnot but at least I can feel I’m doing something. A 60% chance it’ll pick up an asymptomatic infection is better than walking around with absolutely no idea.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

              Oh cool, I’ll give them a call. The ones I have taken in the past have either required pretty far back in the nose or back of the throat but you mustn’t eat/drink anything for a while beforehand.

              And yeah, agree with the tests 100% After all, I’ll take a percentage chance of catching a positive over not knowing. I can’t comprehend the ‘it’s not 100% so there’s no point’ people on either the tests or the vaccines.

          2. Beth*

            Ooo, good idea! (Clenching the thumb.) I’ll have to try that.

            I have a massively oversensitive gag reflex, which makes dental work a real challenge. It helps at the dentist’s if I hum and waggle my feet, but I wasn’t able to do either of those during any of my Covid tests.

          1. CoveredInBees*

            Same. I’m not generally ticklish either. The tech who did my first test said she would rather have her patients giggle. A lot of them apparently yelled at her or just shouted in response to their tests.

    2. Beth*

      I’ve had — let’s see — four tests so far, or maybe five: the most recent one was a throat scrape, one last year was the deep nasal prode, and the rest were just mouth scrapes. I would be very, very happy if I never had to do the deep nasal one again, because holy hoopla was that miserably uncomfortable . . . but not nearly as uncomfortable as being intubated or on a ventilator or, you know, dead.

    1. PollyQ*

      Option C: The vaccines are very effective at preventing hospitalization & death, but they are not perfect. They also are not perfect at preventing fairly serious illness, e.g., senior vaccinated relatives of mine who were infected by an unvaccinated relative and were laid low for several weeks.

    2. Redd*

      This is not how vaccines work. It’s training for your immune system, not a magic spell. Vaccinated individuals are much less likely to become seriously ill, and are contagious for a much shorter period of time, but they can still be affected. And unvaccinated hosts that harbor the virus for longer periods of time give the virus more time to evolve to a form the vaccine isn’t training our bodies for. (Delta, for example.)

      1. FlyingAce*

        This. One of my cousins (late 20s, no health issues) caught the virus recently; she ended up hospitalized for nearly a week, and had to use oxygen once she was cleared to go home. Vaccine rollout in my country has been extremely slow; by the time she became sick, people 30 and under were not eligible for the vaccine yet.

        On the flip side, her father (mid-50s, fully vaccinated) got sick a couple of weeks later; his symptoms were much, much milder, and he has been recovering at home.

    3. Quoth the Raven*

      For the millionth time, the Covid vaccine does not grant absolute immunity, anymore than seatbelts make you immune to harm from a car crash. They make your chances of surviving and of having a milder case of Covid better, and the more people are unvaccinated, the more chances a variant will eventually surge that will render vaccines ineffective.

    4. anone*

      That’s…. not how vaccines work. At all. For example, if enough unvaccinated people continue to get the virus and give it an environment to produce more variants, then there is increasing likelihood of there being variants that will be vaccine resistant (as with the recently reported mu variant; not to mention the extremely robust delta variant that can create illness even among the vaccinated albeit with less severity than if they were unvaccinated). And the waves of severe illness among the unvaccinated is overburdening the healthcare systems ability to care for other people’s needs, not to mention being extremely expensive and burning out healthcare staff.

      Vaccines are about lowering collective risk, which requires collective action and for as many people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible to create an unliveable environment for the virus. Your actions directly impact everyone around you. That you would repeat such a ridiculous phrase and think it is actually meaningful betrays how little you understand what you’re doing and who you’re hurting.

  7. Tali*

    LW1: If the company exempts you from testing and lets you work out 2 weeks untested and unvaccinated, others may be as well. That means that some of your coworkers could be coming into work with COVID, perhaps asymptomatically. That puts you at greater risk of infection, and is something you should consider as you plan your last 2 weeks at work. These policies are in place to protect unvaccinated people like you–it’s safer to be at a workplace where people are regularly tested than where they’re not.

  8. Betsy*

    Assuming LW1 has an actual medical contraindication to the vaccine, i don’t think it’s fair for their workplace to expect them to pay for the testing as a requirement to attend work. How much is testing in the US? (It’s free in my country – so I think a requirement to be tested if not vaccinated would be reasonable).

      1. Speaks to Dragonflies*

        This was my experience with being tested this week. Employer will only accept the PCR test: Tested Tuesday at the public testing center run by my county. It was a drive through set up, so I dont know what non-drivers would do.It was 4 hours to get through it all. Results came Thursday. It can take up to 4 days. I had to use PTO for all time missed from work. Im not vaccinated yet, but I would still have to be tested if I was…That is my experience with it.

    1. PollyQ*

      There’s currently free community testing throughout the US, although people are making noises about starting to charge for it.