Updates to medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine

Advisory Alert

January 4, 2022

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To: Local Health System Partners


Medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccination and new clinical trial exemption process

In follow up to an Advisory Alert issued on December 17, 2021 and an Advisory Alert issued on September 22, 2021, this Advisory Alert provides updated information on criteria for submitting a medical exemption to Public Health Sudbury & Districts and managing previously prepared exemptions.

Effective December 15, 2021, medical and clinical trial exemptions will be verified by Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Ontarians with exemptions for medical reasons or who are participants in COVID related clinical trials will, once verified, be eligible to download an enhanced vaccine certificate, with a QR code from the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccination Portal. Ontarians with a verified exemption will be eligible to utilize the enhanced certificate to access settings requiring proof of vaccination.

Contraindications and precautions that may require medical exemptions

Guidance on evaluating contraindications or precautions to COVID-19 vaccination that may warrant a medical exemption has not changed.

Please refer to the Ministry of Health’s Medical Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccination (PDF) document for guidance to assist in evaluating contraindications or precautions to COVID‑19 vaccination that may warrant a medical exemption.

Recommending a medical exemption and submitting a medical exemption form

Individuals who believe they are eligible for a medical exemption must undergo a clinical assessment by an Ontario physician or Nurse Practitioner to determine if they are at risk to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. If the risk is confirmed, a medical exemption will be recommended that includes which valid exemption is applicable along with other information as set out in the templated exemption form. The templated exemption form was sent directly to physicians and Nurse Practitioners from the Ministry of Health. The practitioner must confirm that the patient consents to collection, use and disclosure of their personal health information to the local Public Health Unit, including any subsequent questions or communications between the practitioner and Public Health Unit.

The exemption template or a document that contains the same information as set out in the template, must be sent from the issuer of the exemption directly to the Public Health Unit where their practice is located for review and entering into COVaxON. For confidential submission to Public Health Sudbury & Districts, please fax 705.677.9624.

Any previously issued medical exemptions, for the purpose of obtaining a vaccine certificate for entry to settings where proof of vaccine is required, must be resent directly to the Public Health Unit. Patients may contact their physician or nurse practitioner to request that their exemption be reissued and sent directly to Public Health Sudbury & Districts or the Public Health Unit where the issuer’s practice resides. As of January 10, 2022, organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as valid medical exemptions.

If Public Health determines that a submitted medical exemption request does not meet the eligibility requirements set out by the province, the request will be denied. Public Health will notify the issuer of the exemption request of the denial and the rationale. If the medical practitioner feels the assessment was made in error, they can make a request to Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health by emailing covid.immunization@ontario.ca to request a review of the exemption request.

Additional information

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as for specific answers to your frequently asked questions visit our FAQ web page or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).


Original Signed By

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

NOTE: All Advisory Alerts are found on our website.

This item was last modified on April 8, 2024