Medical exemptions for the vaccine are incredibly limited.
Limited, but not impossible.
This is according to Scott County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Louis Katz.
He says individuals who have had severe reactions to the first dose of the COVID-19 shot could potentially qualify for a medical exemption.
“You don’t give the vaccine to individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or the vaccine itself,” Katz said.
The severe allergic reaction which Katz and other health officials estimate to be at five in a million is a small number.
Iowa and Illinois attorney John Singer tells me there must be an exception for those who fall into this rare category.
“It’s my understanding that employers especially also public institutions do have to make reasonable accommodations,” Singer said.
Singer says the definition of reasonable accommodations are not a one-size-fits-all approach, and vary on a case by case basis.
“What a reasonable accommodation is, people know it when they see it but its not a precise definition,” Singer said.
As for requiring masks, Dr. Katz says the exemptions aren’t as limited as those with the vaccine.
He notes there are a variety of illnesses that could be complicated by face coverings.
“They increase the work of breathing and if you have underlying lung disease COPD or active asthma they can be very uncomfortable to use and sometimes they will have to make alternative arrangements,” Katz said.