Who is eligible for a medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine in Manitoba

Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force has specified who is eligible for a temporary or permanent medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Medical Lead Dr. Joss Reimer made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday.

“As I’ve said before, the vast majority of eligible Manitobans can and should be immunized to protect themselves and the people around them,” Dr. Reimer said. “However, we did recognize that we needed a process for this small group of people who have a significant and legitimate medical reason for being exempt from getting the vaccine.”

Reimer said exemptions are available to 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 mount an immune defense; and those who had a severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose that cannot be managed by the Health Sciences Centre Allergy Clinic.

Reimer said these exemptions are intentionally aimed at a small group of people.

“I do want to be very clear that the process is not a note from your doctor,” Dr. Reimer said.

Reimer said those who think they are eligible for a medical exemption should first contact their primary health care provider to discuss their condition and to determine whether they should be submitted to a clinical specialist for review.

“Most people who would be eligible for an exemption, which may be temporary, will already have an ongoing relationship with a specialist physician, but some of those cases that I listed may require a referral,” Dr. Reimer said.

Each case must also be submitted to the Vaccine Implementation Task Force.

Reimer said the task force is also developing a way to ensure those with a valid medical exemption have something available to them that is equivalent to the vaccination card. This is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.