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COVID-19: proof of medical exemption from vaccination process confirmed

The government has confirmed how people in England, including care home workers, can apply for proof of medical exemption from vaccination

Andrew Collier
Andrew Collier HR Adviser

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya via Unsplash

On 19 October 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care updated its operational guidance on vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes to confirm the procedure that care home workers in England should use to apply for proof that they are medically exempt from vaccination.
Full details of the application procedure have been set out here.
This procedure applies to any individual who is unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and is not just limited to care home workers. If an application is granted, the individual will be able to use the NHS COVID Pass to prove their COVID-19 status wherever necessary in England. 
The temporary self-certification procedure for care home workers currently in place will end on 24 December 2021. From 25 December 2021, those who are medically exempt will need to verify their status using the NHS COVID Pass in the same way as those who are fully vaccinated.
To apply for an exemption, an individual must call the NHS COVID Pass service on 119 to ask for a medical exemption application form. It will not be possible to obtain this form from a GP. The possible reasons for medical exemption are limited. However, if eligible, the individual will receive an application form by post. The form must be returned to the GP or clinician specified in it and it will be clinically reviewed by the individual's doctor, specialist or midwife. The individual will receive the result of the application automatically by post within two to three weeks.
The NHS COVID Pass will look and work the same for people with medical exemptions as it will for people who are fully vaccinated. It will not show that the user has a medical exemption. However, alongside the NHS COVID Pass, the individual will receive a confirmation letter which explains that they are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. The Guidance states that they must keep this letter and use it if they work or volunteer in a care home after 11 November 2021.
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