SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Leaders with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) want adults to stop coming to their public health departments requesting a COVID-19 vaccine exemption for any reason, because they don’t do that. They are seeing an uptick though in just that, same goes for some medical providers here in the Upstate.

Dr. Brian Blank has been busy.

“Two Mondays ago, it was probably our busiest day for the vaccine. I think we gave out 30 that day alone, which is pretty high for us,” said Dr. Brian Blank with Ember Modern Medicine.

Not only with administering COVID-19 vaccines but also, patients seeking the exact opposite.

“More people have been asking about seeking an exemption recently because it sounds like, there are different employers that are having different requirements,” Dr. Blank said.

His practice is far from alone. In fact, medical professionals with South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control told us, they have been flooded with requests for just that.

“They are asking about medical exemptions but, DHEC does not issue medical exemptions or religious exemptions for adults,” explained DHEC’s Beth Poore.

“We are answering a lot of calls for adults or school-aged children who are attending a college or university,” said Poore.

Same goes for Dr. Blank, he said especially the last couple of weeks. However he told us, if you’re seeking an exemption for work, whether that’s religious or medical, there is no guarantee your management will accept it.

“They’re probably going to have to show that they’ve had a major anaphylactic reaction in the past which is something I could write for, and I assume most employers will accept it. But at the same time, it sounds like they are going to be pretty strict about who they grant those exemptions to,” Dr. Blank told 7 News.

If you do qualify for an exemption, leaders with DHEC told 7 News, instead of starting with their office, contact your physician and/or boss.

You can find a full statement from DHEC on the matter below:

“In light of questions received recently by members of the public, medical providers and media, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is issuing the following guidance as a public service announcement for those seeking adult medical or religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine requirements. 

DHEC does not issue vaccine exemptions of any kind for adults. 

DHEC has no role in an employer’s decision to require vaccinations.

DHEC does have authority over immunization requirements for school and childcare attendance, and as required by South Carolina law, DHEC developed and grants an exemption to childhood immunization requirements for religious beliefs. The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for school and childcare attendance.

State law, however, only applies to daycare and school-aged children, not adults. Please do not come to public health department seeking adult vaccine exemptions for any reason. DHEC does not govern or regulate vaccine requirements from businesses, including whether to grant an exemption.

In general, vaccine exemptions for adults should be requested from the company or other entity requiring the vaccine following the procedures and documentation requirements stipulated by that company. The decision about whether to grant an exemption is solely determined by the company or entity requiring the vaccination

According to the FDA approved instructions for use, medical contraindications to vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of a vaccine, or
  • A known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of a vaccine (see Appendix C for a list of vaccine components)

Any currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to people with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination.”