Number of COVID-19 vaccine exemptions being given out seems 'high,' Ontario medical officer says

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario's top doctor said Tuesday the number of COVID-19 vaccine medical exemptions in the province appears to be too high. That has added more fuel to the controversy surrounding a Ford government caucus member who was demoted last week over her misrepresentation of her vaccination status. Matthew Bingley reports.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health says the number of medical exemptions being given out for COVID-19 vaccines seems “high.”

Dr. Kieran Moore made the remarks during a press conference Tuesday morning.

He said that there are two main reasons for medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines: a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine ingredient and a risk of inflammation to the heart caused by the shot.

Read more:
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Moore said when those two risks are considered, there should be an exemption rate of approximately one to five per 100,000.

“We’re seeing that higher reported by workers and I think it deserves a review,” he said.

“And certainly we’ve tried to educate physicians, nurse practitioners who fill out these forms to ensure that they are aware of the two major medical exemptions for these vaccines…

“I’ve heard, let’s say through hockey leagues and/or through employers, of a one to two per cent medical exemption rate. To me, that does seem high and we have to have physicians and nurse practitioners better aware of what the true medical exemptions are.”

Moore said the province has a partnership with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Nurses and said work is “ongoing” to educate medical professionals on the exemptions for the vaccines.

“It is an ongoing quality improvement initiative,” he said, while adding that he hopes workers are seeking guidance when giving exemptions.

“I want to ensure that all Ontarians have the benefit of protection of immunization and a false medical exemption or an incorrect one bypasses our ability to protect them.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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