NASA Engineer Prepared to Retire After 37 Years if Religious Exemption to Vaccine Mandate Denied

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A NASA employee is prepared to retire after 37 years with the agency if her religious exemption request to the federal vaccine mandate is denied.

Fox News reports that NASA engineer Sophia Smith is ready to retire if her religious exemption is not granted by NASA. In an October 21 interview with Fox and Friends, the long-time NASA employee explained why she personally chooses not to get the vaccine.

“I believe my body is God’s temple,” Smith told Fox and Friends. “All three of vaccine[s] use stem cells as either development or testing, and as a pro-life, I just do not believe that’s the right thing to do.”

Smith told Fox and Friends that she stands firmly in her belief that it is her First Amendment right to choose if she gets vaccinated or not:

So I’m stand[ing] firm, particularly in fighting for the constitutional right … our First Amendment right,” Smith told Fox and Friends. “That’s our rally. We call it the constitutional rally.” 

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“We’re absolutely not anti-vax,” Smith went on to say. “People want to get vaccinated? Great. But for those of us that do not, we should not be forced to choose between our job and the vaccine.”

Later in the interview, Smith questioned why illegal immigrants are not forced to get vaccinated while working federal employees have been mandated to receive it.

“If [the] president feels like it worked … why did he not force the illegal immigrants and the refugee[s] and people who are receiving money from the government to get the vaccine?” Smith said. “Why are they forcing the people that are working to get this vaccine? It just doesn’t make any common sense.”

Fox 26 reports that Sophia Smith and other NASA employees, including civil servants and contractors, organized outside of the NASA campus on October 12 to protest President Joe Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate. 

She told Fox and Friends that more NASA employees have been reaching out to her. 

“Right now, I have a hundred,” she said. “Forty-two civil servants and the rest are contractors, and there are more joining every day. I couldn’t even keep up because I don’t have any social media. I only do it through my email, my personal email and phone, and that’s how I keep the group informed.”

In this Sept. 14, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. But many holdouts remain — a likely sign of what is to come once a federal mandate goes into effect. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

In this Sept. 14, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, PA. Businesses that have announced vaccine mandates say some workers who had been on the fence have since gotten inoculated against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The November 22 deadline that requires federal employees to be fully vaccinated is just weeks away. According to the Associated Press (AP), workers who request a religious or medical exemption from their respective agencies will be asked to provide documentation for their exemption. If a request is rejected, employees have two weeks to receive their first shot.

According to the Associated Press, agencies may deny exemption requests that are deemed legitimate if the agency determines “that no safety protocol other than vaccination is adequate,” depending on the nature of the employee’s job. 

Under CDC guidelines, a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the date of their second shot when it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to AP. The same applies to those who receive the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Therefore, most federal workers have until November 8 to get vaccinated and meet the two-week requirement to be considered fully vaccinated under CDC guidelines by November 22, according to AP.

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