Is there a medical exemption to vaccine work requirements?



Is there a medical exemption to vaccine work requirements?

Yes, San Francisco’s health order allows limited exemptions for employees with qualifying medical reasons that prevent them from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers seeking a medical exemption must provide their employer with appropriate documentation, including a signed statement from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other licensed medical professionals. 

There are limited medical reasons that qualify for an exemption from the workplace vaccination requirement. The health condition or disability should be recognized by the Federal Drug Administration or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As an example, one of the recognized conditions includes a documented history of severe allergic reaction to an ingredient present in all the COVID-19 vaccines offered in the United States.

If an employee qualifies for a medical exemption, their employer must discuss whether reasonable accommodations can be made. The employer, however, is not required to grant accommodations if doing so would be too costly, make the workplace unsafe or cause other forms of undue hardship to the business. Employers should consider accommodation requests individually rather than having blanket workplace policies.

Unvaccinated workers in high-risk environments such as hospitals or nursing homes must wear a well-fitted mask. They are also required to take COVID-19 tests at least once a week.

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