Coronavirus (COVID-19): medical exceptions

What to do if you need to request a medical exception from the requirement to self-isolate when you arrive in Nova Scotia or for proof of full vaccination for discretionary, non-essential events and activities.

Exception from self-isolation and proof of full vaccination

People with a valid medical reason that prevents them from getting a COVID-19 vaccine can request an exception from the requirement to self-isolate when they arrive in Nova Scotia or an exception for proof of full vaccination for discretionary, non-essential events and activities. To get a medical exception, you need to meet 1 of the medical criteria that prevents you from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Medical criteria

A medical exception will only be granted if you have:

  • history of severe allergic reaction (like anaphylaxis) after previous administration of a COVID-19 vaccine using a similar platform (mRNA or viral vector)
  • allergy to any component of the specific COVID-19 vaccine or its container (polyethylene glycol for Pfizer Comirnaty and Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccines)
  • history of major venous or arterial thrombosis with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine
  • history of capillary leak syndrome following vaccination with AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria vaccine
  • history of myocarditis or pericarditis after a first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer Comirnaty or Moderna Spikevax)
  • experienced a serious adverse event after receiving your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (a serious adverse event is defined as life-threatening, requires in-patient hospitalization or prolongs an existing hospitalization, results in persistent or significant disability, incapacity or in a congenital anomaly or birth defect)

Requesting an exception

If you live in Nova Scotia

People who live in Nova Scotia can contact a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner to request a medical exception (they will determine if you qualify). If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call 811 to determine if you qualify for an exception. If you qualify, 811 will refer you to a doctor or nurse practitioner for a medical exception.

A medical exception can only be granted by a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner. Don’t go to an emergency department to request a medical exception (they can’t provide an exception).

If you live outside Nova Scotia

People who live outside Nova Scotia can request a medical exception from the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness. A medical exception will only be granted if you have a letter from a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner in Canada.

Send your medical exception request and supporting documentation to c19compassionate@novascotia.ca and include the following information:

  • letter from a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner in Canada
  • doctor or nurse practitioner’s contact information and registration number
  • confirmation that you meet the medical criteria (you need to have 1 of 6 valid medical reasons that prevents you from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine)

The Government of Nova Scotia needs to verify that your documentation is from a licensed Canadian doctor or nurse practitioner before granting an exception.

If you are granted an exception

If you live in Nova Scotia and are granted an exception, you receive a Valid Medical Contraindication for COVID-19 Vaccination letter from your doctor or nurse practitioner. You need to present the letter anywhere in Nova Scotia that requires proof of full vaccination. If you leave Nova Scotia and return, you need to show your exception letter to border officials with any additional required documentation.

If you live outside Nova Scotia and are granted an exception, you receive an exception letter from the Department of Health and Wellness. When you arrive in Nova Scotia, you need to show your exception letter to border officials with any additional required documentation. You also need to present the letter anywhere in Nova Scotia that requires proof of full vaccination.

If you’re granted an exception, you don't need to complete the Safe Check-in Form.

If you live in Nova Scotia and already have an exception for proof of full vaccination, you do not need to request a new exception from the requirement to self-isolate.