Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Says Coronavirus Vaccine Exemptions Granted Too Frequently

Ontario’s top public health official has said there needs to be a “review” of the circumstances under which unvaccinated employees at certain workplaces are granted medical exemptions amid evidence indicating a rate of death. exemption hundreds of times higher than it should be.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kieran Moore told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday he had heard anecdotal reports from employers with tenure suggesting the medical exemption rate for employees is within between one and two percent.

But Moore said medical exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine should be limited to people at risk for a serious allergic reaction to any of its components or to people at high risk of developing a rare heart disease known as myocarditis.

“If you put these calculations together, we should see medical exemptions of around one to five per 100,000. We are seeing a higher number reported by workers and I think that deserves a review,” he said. . “We have certainly tried to educate the doctors and nurse practitioners who fill out these forms to make sure they are aware of the two main exemptions. “

Moore’s comments on Tuesday come as the Ford government continues to face questions from opposition leaders about why two of its 70 MPs have been granted medical exemptions to remain unvaccinated, despite party policies requiring that its members are fully vaccinated.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath called the situation “statically curious” on Monday and Tuesday, saying the government should “check the legitimacy of claims made.”

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca also weighed in on exemptions on Tuesday, which he said appear to be “a little lopsided” and “a little unusual” given statistics shared by Moore.

“The biggest problem is that when the premier of the province of Ontario himself has consistently undermined all efforts around mandatory vaccination, it’s not that hard to see why members of his own caucus don’t think so. not necessarily that they have to abide by those same rules, ”Del Duca said.

Sources say government chooses to ‘trust’ MPs

Government House Leader Paul Calandra told reporters on Monday that the Progressive Conservative Party’s human resources department was tasked with verifying the validity of medical exemptions granted to MPPs Christina Mitas and Lindsey Park and that he would “likely have “Received” medical exemptions from physicians as a result of guidelines established by the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

But sources in the Ford government told CTV News Toronto that MPs have “the right to a private relationship with their doctor” and that the party leadership chooses to accept the exemptions and “trust these people.” .

Speaking to reporters earlier today, Moore did not specifically address the immunization rate within the PC caucus, but said efforts needed to be made to educate physicians and nurse practitioners “to know more about the real medical exemptions ”.

“This is a continuous quality improvement initiative to educate them about true medical exemptions,” he said. “I want to make sure that all Ontarians have the protection of immunizations and that a false medical exemption or an incorrect exemption circumvents our ability to protect them. So I hope these conversations will take place between doctor and patient, nurse and patient, and that doctors seek advice from their respective colleges regarding appropriate medical exemptions. “

Ontario has so far only mandated vaccination for long-term care workers, although a number of other employers, including about 40 percent of hospitals, have decided to introduce their own policies. compulsory vaccination.

With files from Colin D’Mello of CTV News Toronto