The Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Working Group has clarified who qualifies for a temporary or permanent medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Chief medical officer Dr Joss Reimer made the announcement at a press conference on Wednesday.
“As I said before, the vast majority of eligible Manitobans can and should be immunized to protect themselves and the people around them,” said Dr. Reimer. “However, we recognized that we needed a process for this small group of people who have a significant and legitimate medical reason to be exempt from getting the vaccine. “
Reimer said exemptions are available for Manitobans in three scenarios; those who have had a severe reaction after the first dose of the vaccine, such as myocarditis or Guillain-Barré syndrome; those who are currently receiving treatment that affects their ability to build an immune defense; and those who have had a severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose that cannot be managed by the Health Sciences Center Allergy Clinic.
Reimer said these exemptions are intentionally aimed at a small group of people.
“I want to be very clear that the process is not a note from your doctor,” Dr. Reimer said.
Reimer said those who believe they qualify for a medical exemption should first contact their primary health care provider to discuss their condition and determine if they should be referred to a clinical specialist for examination.
“Most people who would be eligible for an exemption, which may be temporary, will already have an ongoing relationship with a medical specialist, but some of the cases I have listed may require a referral,” Dr Reimer said.
Each case should also be submitted to the Vaccine Implementation Working Group.
Reimer said the task force is also developing a way to ensure that people with a valid medical exemption have something available to them that is equivalent to the vaccination card. This should be finalized in the coming weeks.