Exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination
Find out more about exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Written by Sonder
Updated over a week ago

There are some medical exemptions to the COVID‐19 vaccination, but they require individual assessment by qualified and registered doctors. If you're unsure of your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination, please read the following sections for more information:

Past history of anaphylaxis

A history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine or previous dose is a potential reason why the COVID-19 vaccination may be inadvisable for some people. Individuals with a history of anaphylaxis relevant to the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to discuss the risks versus benefits with their doctor and may receive a medical exemption to the vaccination.

A past history of anaphylaxis to another substance (vaccine, medication, food stuff, insect etc) is not a reason to avoid vaccination and it should be discussed with a doctor.

Immunocompromised individuals

The Australian Government strongly recommends that people who have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised) receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Immunocompromised individuals are at increased risk of harm from SARS‐CoV‐2 infection so may receive a greater benefit from the vaccination.

Some severely immunocompromised people may receive three doses as part of their primary course. Due to the complexities related to medication, it is strongly encouraged that individuals have a discussion regarding the risks versus benefits of COVID-19 vaccination with their doctor.


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has recommended the following:

Pregnant women are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination, and should be routinely offered the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) or Spikevax (Moderna) at any stage of pregnancy. The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Spikevax (Moderna) are mRNA vaccines and are safe for pregnant women.

Women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination. Pregnant women have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and their babies also have a higher risk of being born prematurely.

COVID-19 vaccination may provide indirect protection to babies by transferring antibodies through the placenta (for pregnant women) or through breastmilk (for breastfeeding women). Vaccination is recommended for breastfeeding women - there is no need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

All healthcare workers, including midwives and doctors, are encouraged to be vaccinated, to protect themselves, and pregnant women and their babies. The vaccine does not cause “shedding” and vaccinated people are far less likely to transmit COVID-19.

Vaccination after testing positive for COVID-19

People who have had COVID-19 can be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination can be deferred for up to six months as past infection reduces the chance of reinfection for at least this amount of time, but there is no requirement to delay vaccination. People might choose to be vaccinated if they:

  • are significantly immunocompromised and may be at greater risk of getting COVID-19 again.

  • have a job that requires them to be vaccinated

  • have a job that puts them at greater risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

People should not be vaccinated until they have recovered from COVID-19. If a person tests positive for COVID-19 between their first and second doses, they should not receive their second dose until they have recovered. People with prolonged symptoms from COVID-19 beyond six months should discuss vaccination with their doctor.

Personal, religious or political beliefs

The High Court of Australia recognises a right to freedom of political communication. While this may protect expression of anti-vaccination views, it is unlikely to overturn regulations that authorise compulsory vaccination, especially when it comes to the protection of public health.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Image credit: Maksim Goncharenok at Pexels

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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