Medical conditions preventing COVID-19 vaccination are rare, experts say

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While many workplaces, including hospitals and health systems, are allowing medical exemptions in their COVID-19 vaccine mandates, most people are not medically exempt from getting the shot, experts told ABC News.

David Dowdy, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told the news outlet large and growing data on vaccines finds immediate health issues or side effects are rare in people with preexisting medical conditions. 

"Other than age, there are no major exemptions that cover large groups of people," he told ABC News.

Pfizer's shot has received full approval from the FDA for use in people ages 16 and older and is available under emergency use authorization for people ages 12 and up. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines are available under emergency use authorization for people ages 18 and up.

CDC guidance states serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely after inoculation. But there is an exception if the person has a severe or immediate allergic reaction, such as anaphylactic shock, after getting the first dose. The CDC guidance is that people who experience this type of reaction should not get a second dose.

Jeff Linder, MD, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told ABC News severe or immediate allergic reactions are rare, and "It would have to be documented as a moderate or severe allergy before I would consider giving a medical exemption."

Overall, the vaccines are safe for most people, according to the CDC. But people who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma for COVID-19 treatment should defer vaccination for at least 90 days, according to the agency. It also cautions that women under 50 should be informed of risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the availability of other shot options.

To view the full ABC News report, click here

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