Gov. Noem order enables SD state employees to claim medical, religious exemptions from federal vaccine mandates

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota state employees contracting for the federal government will be able to claim a medical or religious exemption from federal vaccine mandates under a new executive order.

Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-14 on Wednesday, with the stated goal of providing an exemption option for state employees from President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandates.

“Our state has many contracts with the federal government,” said Governor Noem, “And President Biden is attempting to use those contracts to force state employees to be vaccinated against their will. My executive order will protect their rights to medical and religious exemptions under any federal vaccine mandates. I am already talking with legislators about extending these protections to private employees through legislation as well.”

According to a release from the Governor’s office, for the medical exemption, employees need a written statement from a physician stating that the COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated for medical reasons.


For the religious exemption, a form will be made available by the Bureau of Human Resources that shall read in full, “I, [insert person’s full name], dissent and object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, which includes moral, ethical, and philosophical beliefs or principles.”


The order does not apply to service members with the South Dakota National Guard who must meet federal readiness responsibilities for deployment.


Governor Noem says she will work with the legislature during the 2022 legislative session to make these protections for state employees permanent, as well as extending similar health and religious liberty protections to employees of private businesses who adopted mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.

Click here for the full text of Executive Order 2021-14

Categories: Coronavirus, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News