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VERIFY: Do you need to prove you have a medical condition to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Some have asked if they need a doctor's note to get the vaccine.

ATLANTA — As the state expands eligibility to more Georgians for the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be wondering -- How do they know you are eligible? 

If you fall into the age bracket, that's easy to prove. But, if you are currently eligible due to a medical condition as defined by the state or the CDC, how do they know? 

Some have asked if you need to get a doctor's note to prove you have a medical condition. 11Alive's VERIFY team went to the experts to find out.

THE QUESTION 

Do you need to show proof you are medically eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Georgia?

THE ANSWER

There is no requirement to provide proof of medical eligibility.

WHAT WE KNOW

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), you do not need to provide proof to get a vaccine in Georgia.

Georgia State University Public Health master's candidate Beth Pollak also said you don't have to disclose it.

"You are under no obligation to tell anyone why you are eligible to be vaccinated. You might have a different pre-existing condition that you don't want to disclose. So you don't have to say it's about your BMI, you just say, I'm in the eligible class," she said.

Pollak has been advocating to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible

A spokesperson with the DPH said it boils down to not being able to play "vaccine police."

“While DPH does ask screening questions on vaccine registration sites, we do not ask individuals to provide verification that they are eligible for vaccination," DPH said. "DPH does not have time to be 'vaccine police' and still vaccinate the thousands of people presenting for vaccination."

DPH said there is still not enough vaccine for everyone right now, so it prioritizes vaccination based on the risk of transmission, exposure, and serious complications of COVID-19. 

"Providers must depend on the honesty and integrity of people who are presenting for vaccination,” it said.

Most counties have told us that they ask questions at intake to determine your eligibility. 

It is important to check with the provider giving the vaccine to see what documentation they may require.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE

As of Monday, March 15, the new population category includes any adult 55 and over along with any adult 16 and over with the following health conditions:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibroses
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart conditions
  • Immunocompromised state
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological conditions, like dementia, Parkinson's, ALS
  • Overweight and obesity (BMI > 25kg)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thalassemia

11Alive's VERIFY team is here to fact-check claims being shared in the community and online. Fill out the form below with something you'd like us to VERIFY.