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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Patients asking for medical exemption letters to avoid getting COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 18:26:54-04

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. (WXYZ)  — Want your job? Get vaccinated. That is the message from more and more employers around metro Detroit as the COVID-19 Delta variant threatens Michigan with what medical leaders warn could be another public health disaster.

Beaumont, Trinity, Henry Ford, and Ascension Health have all sent out notices to workers. They will be requiring employees and doctors to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Some of those workers are calling on their doctors for help avoiding the shot.

7 Action News has covered protests, as workers and others against COVID-19 vaccine mandates spoke out. Now doctors around metro Detroit are reporting an increase in patients coming to them asking for medical exemption letters.

“I am hoping the medical community all stands together and says you need your vaccine,” said Dr. Joel Fishbain, the Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Beaumont Hospital Grosse Pointe.

Dr. Fishbain says most doctors believe in the vaccine. More than 95% are vaccinated. He says there are very few people who truly should qualify for a medical exemption.

“Unless you are allergic to one of the components I haven’t seen any significant reasons not to. In the first place, it is not a live virus vaccine. We do recommend avoiding live virus vaccines in people with immune systems that cannot handle it. This is NOT a live virus vaccine. So that exclusion would not apply,” said Dr. Fishbain.

“In fact, I said it three times today. This is the time to get it,” said Dr. Yuliya Malayev, DO, MPH, Metro Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Dr. Malayev says some patients are asking for an exemption due to pregnancy or concerns the vaccine could impact fertility. She says The CDC has data on more than 130 thousand women who have gotten vaccinated while pregnant, or who then became vaccinated.

Researchers have found no statistical difference in problems between those vaccinated and those in the general population.

Dr. Malayev says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), issued new statements just last week on vaccinations. They are strongly recommending that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals, because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines,” said J. Martin Tucker, MD, FACOG, president of ACOG. “Pregnant individuals should feel confident that choosing COVID-19 vaccination not only protects them but also protects their families and communities.”

Dr. Malayev says COVID can be devastating for anyone, but pregnant women are at higher risk for severe complications.

“We’re seeing them on the ventilators. There was recently a mom who had a double lung transplant just here at Henry Ford Hospital. Can you imagine being a new mom who had a double lung transplant and then having a new baby to take care of when all of this could have been preventable? When you have the option to do something, to take something that is a vaccine, that is relatively safe, the particles of which are not showing up in your placenta, in your umbilical cord blood, or in any way in your baby and you have this opportunity to protect them for at least 6 months by placental antibody transfer, why aren’t you taking that chance?” Said Dr. Malayev.

Doctors say while the medical reasons for an exemption from getting the vaccine are rare, if you have questions about your specific health, talk to your doctor.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.