Message from your family doctors, primary care providers, and PFHT re: vaccine exemption

September 22nd, 2021

September 21, 2021

To Our Valued Patients,

As most of you will have heard, the Ontario government recently announced that there are now new requirements for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in certain settings. These are in effect as of September 22, 2021. Additionally, many employers, including the Peterborough Family Health Team, have instituted mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace. These changes mean that your family doctors and primary care providers, have started to receive requests for proof of medical reasons to be excused from requiring a vaccination against COVID-19.

Please understand that, although there may be many reasons people may choose not to get vaccinated, as physicians and primary care providers we can only provide documentation with regards to established medical contraindications, in other words a reason that makes it inadvisable due to significant health risk. Currently there are only two circumstances that may warrant a medical exemption to immunization with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine:

1) A proven and documented severe allergic reaction to a previously administered COVID vaccine or any of the ingredients contained within it. Please note that even when an allergy is present, the vaccine can often be safely administered in a controlled setting such as a specialized allergy clinic. As such, a medical exemption may require consultation with an allergist to confirm whether or not the vaccine can be given.

2) A medically confirmed diagnosis of pericarditis or myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle or the sac around the heart) – either of which are extremely rare following administration of a first dose of a COVID vaccine. In this case, it is currently recommended that further immunization be delayed until more data is available.
As a result, and in accordance with guidance from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, medical exemptions to vaccination for different reasons will not be provided. Peterborough Public Health is in agreement with this decision.

We understand that many of you still have concerns or questions about the COVID 19 vaccines that are currently available, or about symptoms you experienced after a first dose, and we continue to be happy to talk through your concerns or questions with you. We also know that there is a lot of misinformation circulating about these vaccines and it can be difficult to determine what information is true. Attached you will find an information sheet adapted by Peterborough Regional Health Centre which responds to some common myths about COVID-19 immunizations with the facts.

As your family doctors and primary care providers we are dedicated to using our knowledge and training to keep you and your families healthy. We know that vaccination against COVID-19 is not only key to keeping you protected from the potentially devastating effects of a COVID-19 infection, but a primary tool to avoiding further lockdowns, to keeping our children in school, and hopefully to being able to return to some sense of normalcy. You may book an appointment with your family physician or a nurse practitioner if you would like to discuss your concerns about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, but before doing so please first read the information which we have provided and we endorse as accurate.

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