Saskatoon mom says COVID-19 vaccine rules need space for people with legitimate medical exemptions
A Saskatoon woman wants the city and the province need to reevaluate how medical exemptions are are handled under current COVID-19 vaccine mandates
“I would like people to respect one another and have empathy for one another and support one another. Division is never going to get us to the other side,” Lee told CTV News.
Tamara Lee has three boys, two of them play hockey, but she can’t get into the rinks to watch or help get the youngest who’s five years old on the ice.
In an interview with CTV News, Lee said she reacts to vaccinations, the most severe was the H1N1 vaccine in 2008 which left her skin irritated, itchy, and bruised. A condition she continues to deal with as a result.
Lee said her conditions include eczema and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which made her reluctant to get the first COVID shot.
She said she was left with little choice, but to get it because it was required in order to get a doctor to write off on her exemption.
That shot she received on Sept.17 gave her a reaction also.
“I can’t sleep, my skin is bruised and bleeding. I can’t get my wedding ring off because I’m swollen … I’m itching all the time so it’s very disruptive,” Lee said.
Because of that, she has an exemption form with her doctor’s signature saying she reacted to the vaccine and that those conditions still exist now, weeks later.
Lee doesn’t want to be viewed as anti-vaccination and isn't against the vaccine in general but wants consideration for those who can’t get it.
“Just stop the ‘you have to do this, or if you don’t do this, you’re killing people’ It’s just insanity,” Lee said.
To add to her frustration, Lee says, her three children also react to vaccinations which she learned when they were infants and had the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis shot at four months old.
Nazeem Muhajarine is an epidemiologist at the University of Saskatchewan and say, only about one percent of people have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, but since it’s a new vaccine it’s important that reactions are reported to a doctor and documented.
“Because people need to know, the medical system needs to know everyone needs to know when people have these kinds of notable reactions,” Muhajarine told CTV News.
Muhajarine also says, Saskatchewan should follow the lead of provinces like Nova Scotia which just implemented a policy on exemption.
“It is time that our province has a well laid out and well known plan what people need to do if they are claiming a medical exemption,” he said.
Mayor Charlie Clark responded to the idea of reexamining the exemption for those who react to the COVID vaccine saying, the current rules are for the greater good.
“The reality is that we can either have some conditions where we can have these activities and sports and other things, or we cannot. If we are unable to provide certainty that there isn’t likelihood that COVID-19 being spread, then we’re only putting the health system more at risk which we already know it’s at capacity,” Clark told CTV News.
The mayor realizes there are some very limited situations where people can have exemptions, but he says it's important to be realistic about the risk COVID-19 is posing and the impact it’s having right now.
“These rules are not being made up just to try and make people’s life difficult. They’re’ trying to keep people from getting COVID and dying and having it spread more throughout our community,” Clark said.