Governor Noem announces Vaccine Exemption legislation

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Thursday, Governor Kristi Noem filed legislation to guarantee medical or religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccines for private employees who are facing private employer vaccine mandates. The bill also recognizes natural immunity.

“The COVID vaccination should be a choice, and we should reject the efforts that we are seeing in other parts of the country to divide us into two classes: vaccinated and unvaccinated,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Unvaccinated Americans are still Americans. We live in a free country – free to make our own decisions. In South Dakota, we will protect the liberty of our people to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”

A medical exemption can be obtained with the signature of a South Dakota physician who signs a certificate attesting that the COVID-19 vaccination is not in the best medical interest of the employee.

A religious exemption may be claimed if the employee submits a signed statement to the employer stating:  “I, [insert person’s full name], dissent and object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, which includes moral or ethical beliefs or principles but not social, political, or economic philosophies or mere preference.”

A natural immunity exemption may be claimed with proof of a positive antibody test within the past six months.

Governor Noem previewed her vaccine legislation last year when she signed Executive Order 2021-14, protecting state employees from President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates. This legislation extends similar protections to private workers. Governor Noem also discussed the legislation in her 2022 State of the State Address.

You can read Governor Noem’s vaccine legislation here.