by Alan G. Phillips, J.D

There are two distinct components to situations where vaccines are mandated. First, determine what your rights actually are (which is often confused with what you think your rights should be). Second, if you don’t like the status of your rights, you must take legislative steps to change them.

In my experience, most hospitals’ religious exemption policies violate federal law by requiring the involvement of a religious official. Healthcare workers can object to state – or employer- mandated flu shots on religious grounds under federal civil rights law. The law defines ‘religion’ so broadly that there are even beliefs one could hold as an atheist that are protected religious beliefs. That said, there are legal pitfalls when applying for a religious exemption; many have failed when they have attempted this on their own. So, like any other important legal matter, if your right to refuse is really important to you, you should consult an experienced attorney. Unfortunately, while there are a lot of attorneys who understand employment law, there are very few who are specifically experienced with vaccine exemptions. Keep that in mind when choosing your attorney.

To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only attorney in the U.S. whose practice is focused *solely on vaccine exemptions and waivers.* Despite this, I charge less  for my services than most other attorneys. This past fall, I worked with approximately 150 healthcare workers in 25 states. The overwhelming majority of exemptions we filed were ultimately successful (keep in mind, past success doesn’t guarantee every future success; every situation is different).  As I continue to learn more, I will continue to identify tactics hospitals are using and how best to address them.

Meanwhile, beyond the need for individual exemptions, when we examine our current legislative rights, most who have concerns about vaccination feel they are inadequate. So, we must all get involved with legislative action to change the laws as to guarantee our right to determine what goes into our body. Legislative success is a tall order when we are opposed by the pharmaceutical industry. Their massive clout and purse pose a formidable challenge.  Furthermore, a lasting, long-term fix will necessarily require exposing the underlying corruption, and that will not be easy.

We will face tremendous resistance. The current system has been designed to maintain the status quo and protect the corruptors. It is important to understand the foe so we can proceed realistically.  As we make progress, desperate measures may be taken by our opposition, including personal attacks and more.  When we speak loudly enough for long enough, though, change will occur. One drop of water won’t do anything to a rock, but persistent, repeated drops wear down mountains. Every drop moves us forward; and every drop inspires other drops to join in. We must be prepared to persist over the long term and pace ourselves to avoid burnout.

I have work with legislative activists across the U.S., but I want to encourage everyone to join the NVIC Advocacy Portal ( This is the best place in the U.S. to work with others on vaccine legislative activism. It is FREE to join, and takes little time to participate. Everyone must keep doing whatever we can, even if it’s just to be a persistent thorn in the foot, until we can figuratively become a dagger in the heart of the opposition. Failure is not an option. We must work together to reach our goal: Retain the Right to Refuse Vaccination.

Alan G. Phillips, J.D.

600 Mermon Ave, Ste 1-D

Asheville, NC  28804


*Special thanks to Dr. Sherri Tenpenny for her assistance with the composition of this message

See also: Are Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Healthcare Workers part of Obamacare and Linked to Financial Reimbursement to Healthcare Facilities?

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