Information

COVID-19 multiple vaccination related questions: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002


Information requested

Question 1: "the government to release the number of medical exemptions granted for the Covid vaccinations?"

Question 2: "Your guidance on acquiring a so called "Vaccine Passport" states that a medical exemption cannot be added to that system. This may end up discriminating against people with these exemptions. You also state that very few people are expected to be able to qualify for a medical exemption. How can you be sure of this with an experimental product that has many already known side effects and no long term data?"

Question 3: "Also, if someone has had an adverse reaction to a Covid vaccine, why are they being encouraged to take more doses? Surely an adverse reaction, especially a serious one, would preclude them from having to take further doses of that vaccine? This scenario would be seen as to cause deliberate harm to an individual."

Response

Question 1: I hereby request the government to release the number of medical exemptions granted for the Covid vaccinations.

This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

This information is not held within the Scottish Government, it is held separately within the 14 health boards across Scotland. You can find the Scottish Health Boards and how to contact them here: National Contact Point: Health boards - Health rights | NHS inform.

Question 2: Your guidance on acquiring a so called "Vaccine Passport" states that a medical exemption cannot be added to that system. This may end up discriminating against people with these exemptions. You also state that very few people are expected to be able to qualify for a medical exemption. How can you be sure of this with an experimental product that has many already known side effects and no long term data?

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

You can find the latest news and information regarding Covid Status on the NHS Inform website. Information regarding exemptions can be found under COVID Status: Guidance common questions. I have included some information from this section below which you may find helpful:

  • How will exemptions be displayed?

A secure paper exemption certificate will be sent to people who are exempt for medical reasons. The certificate has security features. If you have an exemption certificate, you can show it to enter venues in Scotland where you have to prove your COVID Status. Staff checking your COVID Status in events and venues are familiar with exemption certificates. Vaccination status can also be requested for international travel.

More information on side effects of the coronavirus vaccines can be found here: Coronavirus (COVID- 19) vaccines adverse reactions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Side effects of the coronavirus vaccines | The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine (nhsinform.scot).

Question 3: Also, if someone has had an adverse reaction to a Covid vaccine, why are they being encouraged to take more doses? Surely an adverse reaction, especially a serious one, would preclude them from having to take further doses of that vaccine? This scenario would be seen as to cause deliberate harm to an individual.

All medicines, including vaccinations, can have side effects but serious adverse events and deaths are very rare with COVID vaccines. Vaccines remain the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and have already saved thousands of lives and prevented thousands more hospital admissions with serious COVID effects.

Vaccinating people as quickly as possible will help drive infection rates down, particularly as recently a significantly more infectious and potentially faster spreading strain of COVID has developed. The MHRA carefully reviews any reports to distinguish possible side effects from illness that would have occurred, irrespective of vaccination. Further information regarding potential adverse events is publicly available in the Greenbook Chapter 14a.

Scottish Government cannot comment on individual circumstances and recommends anyone concerned that they have suffered an adverse effect following their vaccinations to discuss this with the clinician responsible for their care, their GP or their vaccinator who will be able to make a clinical assessment as to the suitability to continue and make alternative arrangements if necessary, such as booking and appointment at an allergy clinic.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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