Johns Hopkins University Tells Student His Adverse Reaction To The COVID Vaccine Isn’t Sufficient For Booster Exemption

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Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A student at Johns Hopkins University was denied a medical exemption to the COVID-19 booster shot after the university declared his adverse reaction to the COVID vaccine was not serious enough, according to communications obtained by the Daily Caller.

The student — who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from the university — submitted a medical exemption form for the booster shot with records of his April 10 emergency room visit, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller. The student reported a fever, severe gastrointestinal issues, and breathing problems that followed days after getting inoculated with the COVID vaccine.

The student told the Daily Caller that he received the vaccine just a few weeks after contracting COVID-19 in early March. He also contracted COVID-19 in December, just two weeks before Johns Hopkins announced its booster requirement.

“I am specifically requesting a medical exception from the COVID-19 Booster Shot on the grounds of a history of adverse reaction to the vaccine,” the student wrote in an email to the university’s Vaccine Management System Team.

According to submitted documentation, the student uploaded his medical paperwork from his April emergency room visit, proof of two positive COVID tests from 2021, a positive antibodies test, a written statement that he submitted a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and a completed form from his doctor acknowledging his adverse reaction to the vaccine.

His doctor signed off on his medical condition stating that the student had a “history of previous allergic reaction and documentation to indicate an immediate hypersensitivity reaction to the COVID vaccine or a component of the vaccine.”


On Jan. 19, the university informed the student that his request for a medical exemption was denied. The university health services team determined that his paperwork “cannot be verified,” and that his adverse reactions were insufficient to grant a medical exemption.

“Side effects are not the same as allergies and are not a medical contraindication to future vaccination,” the email reviewed by the Daily Caller read.

Johns Hopkins has narrow guidelines for medical exemptions. Students must show that they had “a severe anaphylactic reaction to a prior dose of” the COVID vaccine or “an allergy to the component of the vaccine.” Other severe problems do not qualify, according to the university’s COVID guidance.

The university also requires students to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week and double mask, according to a report from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The student told the Daily Caller that many classes required to graduate are only available in person. He fears the university won’t help accommodate him in moving his classes online. The student also said that he believes Johns Hopkins should recognize that students with “bolstered natural immunity” are not in desperate need of receiving a booster shot. (RELATED: CDC Says Natural Immunity Outperformed Vaccines Against Delta Strain)

The Daily Caller asked the university whether students who refuse to get the booster shot will be offered online class options, or whether they plan to pay the medical bills of students who are predisposed to adverse reactions but are denied a medical exemption. Johns Hopkins University did not respond to the request for comment.

Students who fail to comply will be removed from their classes and “may be subject to disciplinary action,” according to the university’s COVID page. The student who was denied a medical exemption told the Daily Caller that he feels he must pick between his education and his health.

“The denial of my medical exception for the COVID booster due to a severe reaction is troubling,” the student said. “I must now choose between my health and continuing my education.”