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Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Doctor’s Note For Your Preexisting Condition

writtenByWritten by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

Read more posts by this author.

March 29, 2021 Read Time - 10 minutes

Update April 8, 2021: Most states are no longer requiring proof of preexisting conditions for vaccination. Vaccine availability has increased throughout the nation and by April 19 the general public will be able to get vaccinated in the U.S. Some of the information is in this article is out of date.

Do I Need a Doctor’s Note to Get the Coronavirus Vaccine?

As states begin to vaccinate people with preexisting conditions many are requiring people to come with proof of their condition in the form of a doctor’s note. Whether or not you need a doctor’s note to get a COVID vaccine depends on your state’s regulations.

Even if your state is not requiring verification, bringing a doctor’s note may ensure you receive the vaccine. There have been reports of some people being turned away when vaccinators believe they are skipping the line by faking a condition.

New York, Florida, and Indiana are examples of states requiring proof of preexisting conditions before vaccination (scroll down to learn more). This is to ensure that those who need vaccines the most get them first.

PlushCare’s board-certified online physicians can provide you with documentation so you can get vaccinated without any doubts. Appointments take an average of 15 minutes and you’ll have your COVID-19 doctor’s note electronically sent to you in 24 hours or less following your appointment.

Preexisting Conditions That Should Be Prioritized For Vaccination According to the CDC

As of now, we know the CDC recommends the vaccination of people with the following preexisting medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

COVID-19 is a relatively new disease, and health experts are still working to determine who is at risk. Adults with the following conditions might be at increased risk of severe complications due to COVID-19.

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight (BMI > 25 kg/m2, but < 30 kg/m2)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Keep in mind, as new information is discovered about the impact of these conditions on symptoms of COVID-19, prioritization of vaccinations may change.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility in Florida

As of March 29th, the Florida Health Department extended vaccine eligibility to:

  • “persons 40 years of age or older;
  • persons determined to be extremely vulnerable by a physician [who have the required form];
  • health care workers with direct patient contact;
  • long-term care facility residents and staff.”

If you are under 40 years old and have a preexisting condition you will be required to show the COVID-19 Determination of Extreme Vulnerability form to your vaccine center.

While Florida vaccine regulators have not defined what “extremely medically vulnerable” is many doctors will defer to the conditions determined by the CDC that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection (see full list above).

If you are a Florida resident under 40 with a preexisting condition that puts you at risk of severe COVID-19 infection, PlushCare doctors can provide you with the required documentation during a virtual consultation. It may take up to 24 hours for you to electronically receive your note following your appointment.

What the Florida Determination of Extreme Vulnerability form looks like:

covid-19-vaccine-doctors-note-florida

Our top online doctors have helped hundreds of people get vaccinated in Florida and if you have a preexisting condition, they can help you too.


Related: Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Doctor’s Note


New York COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

On March 30, 2021 New York will extend vaccine eligibility to people over 30 years of age, a big step in continuing to vaccinate NY residents.

If you are under 30 and have a preexisting condition New York is one of the few states requiring you to come with verification of your preexisting condition. Verification can be in the form of a doctor’s note stating that you have a preexisting condition that qualifies you to get vaccinated at this time.

According to New York state’s COVID-19 vaccination website:

“To show they have comorbidities or underlying conditions, New Yorkers must provide documentation as required by the facility where they are getting vaccinated which must be either:

• Doctor’s Letter, or
• Medical Information Evidencing Comorbidity, or
• Signed Certification”

If you have any of the following conditions you can book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor to get a doctor’s note for New York COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus 
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

California COVID-19 Eligibility

Starting on March 15th, California residents with preexisting conditions that have been proven to lead to more severe cases of COVID-19 are eligible to get the vaccine.

In a letter to vaccinators, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said “Beginning March 15, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the following severe health conditions:

  • Cancer, current with debilitated or immunocompromised state
  • Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 or above
  • Chronic pulmonary disease,  oxygen dependent
  • Down syndrome
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (excludes hypertension)
  • Severe obesity (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.5%”

While the CDPH did not provide instruction on how vaccinators should exercise “clinical judgment” when determining eligibility, individuals who bring proof of one or more of the above conditions will likely not need to worry about being turned away.

PlushCare’s online providers are assisting eligible individuals who’d like verification of their preexisting condition via online appointments. While California is not requiring you to come with proof, having a doctor’s note may ensure you get your vaccine.


Related: How to Get Registered by a Doctor for the COVID-19 Vaccine in Indiana


I’m not in NY, FL or CA and Have a Pre-existing Condition, Can I Get Vaccinated?

Many states have already begun vaccinating people with preexisting conditions. Check your state’s COVID-19 vaccination website to see what phase of vaccination rollout they are on and if your preexisting condition is currently being offered the vaccine.

Remember, if you need or want verification of your condition to ensure you’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, PlushCare’s virtual doctors can help regardless of your location.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

When Can I Get Vaccinated?

If you are a healthcare worker or a resident of a long-term care home you can get vaccinated now regardless of your state.

If you are over 65 or have a preexisting condition(s) you may be able to get vaccinated now depending on your state.

The timeline for when the general public will be vaccinated for COVID-19 is hard to predict, however, there is a consensus among experts that widespread availability is still months away.

Many questions still remain about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Below, we’ll be answering your questions and give you some insight into when you may be receiving your vaccination and how PlushCare can help.

Who Can Get the Coronavirus Vaccine?

The rollout of the vaccine is a complex and complicated operation that involves a variety of ethical and logistical dilemmas. The first doses of the vaccine have already been distributed to millions of frontline healthcare workers around the country.

According to the CDC, “Early protection of health care personnel is critical to preserve capacity to care for patients with COVID-19 or other illnesses.” Vaccinating all of these workers would account for roughly 21 million Americans who make up approximately 12% of all U.S. cases. 

The other critical demographic targeted in the first phase of vaccine rollout is residents in long-term care facilities. Like frontline healthcare workers, many in this demographic have already received the first dose of vaccination.

Roughly 2 million Americans live in nursing homes, where outbreaks have proven to be devastating. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, approximately 40% of all U.S. deaths from COVID-19 have been residents of nursing facilities.

At this time, the CDC has suggested that the next priority populations may include people over the age of 65, essential workers, and individuals with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of severe complications due to COVID-19.


Read: What to Expect After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine


I’m Over 65, Can I Get Vaccinated?

Most states have opened vaccine eligibility to those 65 and older. We recommend you check your state’s COVID-19 vaccine website.

Although those over the age of 65 are near the front of the line, the logistics of distributing the vaccine make the situation far more complicated. In the US, there are 87 million essential workers, 53 million individuals over the age of 65, and 100 million people with high-risk medical conditions, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Individual states have been tasked with identifying priority groups and actually administering vaccinations. That means states may interpret the CDC’s recommendations differently, and decisions to prioritize one group over another will push tens of millions of people further towards the front or back of the line. 

At this time, it’s unclear just how quickly people over the age of 65 will receive their vaccination. It will ultimately vary depending on where you live, if you have any medical conditions that increase your risk, and how efficiently healthcare facilities administer vaccinations.

Where Can I Get Vaccinated?

At this time, vaccines are being distributed in hospitals, at propped up sites (much like drive through testing sites), in residential homes, pharmacies, and at vaccine hubs.

Whether or not your state is requiring proof of your preexisting condition, a note from a doctor may ensure you will get the vaccine.

Just click here to book a virtual appointment and receive an official doctor’s note today.


Read More About COVID-19


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Kaiser Family Foundation. COVID-19 Has Claimed the Lives of 100,000 Long-Term Care Residents and Staff. Accessed on February 24, 2021 at
https://www.kff.org/policy-watch/covid-19-has-claimed-the-lives-of-100000-long-term-care-residents-and-staff/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Recommendations. Accessed on February 24, 2021 at
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Phased Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines. Accessed on February 24, 2021 at
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2020-11/COVID-04-Dooling.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with Certain Medical Conditions. Accessed on February 24, 2021 at
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html#:~:text=Adults%20of%20any%20age%20with%20the%20following%20conditions%20are%20at,COPD%20(chronic%20obstructive%20pulmonary%20disease)

California Department of Public Health. Provider Bulletin. Accessed March 8, 2021 https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Provider-Bulletin-2-12-21.aspx

New York COVID 19 Vaccine Health. Vaccine Distribution Phase 1a and Phase 1b. Accessed March 8, 2021 https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine#phase-1a

Florida Health COVID-19. COVID-19 Vaccines in Florida. Accessed March 8, 2021 https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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