Anti-vax GP facing inquiries over fake exemptions

Police should be investigating an anti-vax GP caught on camera issuing fake vaccine exemption certificates, the Medical Association says.

The documents being issued suggested a "fraudulent practise" and there was a "strong case to be answered here for fraud", chairman Alistair Humphrey said today.

The Ministry of Health is investigating claims that Dr Jonie Girouard has been handing out fake medical certificates to be used as exemptions for getting the Pfizer vaccine.

Health officials were made aware of the situation after a reporter went undercover and visited the Canterbury GP's clinic in a bid to see if he could get an exemption himself.

Girouard, who runs a weight-loss clinic in Kaiapoi, has been offering an alternative option for people who do not want to get vaccinated.

Humphrey told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB today that the case seemed, on the face of it, to be "fraudulent practise".

"It's not without precedent, there are doctors occasionally who write medical certificates which aren't valid ones.

"I think there's a strong case to be answered here for fraud and I think the police should be investigating."

While it wasn't illegal to be an anti-vaxxer but to fabricate medical certificates, there was case law of doctors issuing fake sick notes - but this was worse than that as it put other people at risk.

As for where the line was, Humphrey said if a patient was properly examined and had a genuine reason for needing time off a doctor could sign off on a medical certificate.

But the person has to have a "genuine reason".

"On the face of it, it looks as though there's no genuine reason for issuing these certificates."

As for explaining the nature of anti-vaxxers and their behaviour, Humphrey said it was "very difficult to explain" and it "goes beyond logic". Those at the very extreme end were almost like they had a religious passion.

There was only one doctor in this country who could issue an exemption - and that was Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Vaccine 'horrible', GP caught on camera

Recordings taken during a Newshub undercover operation showed Girouard issuing medical certificate exemptions to the vaccine to people who did not fit the exemptions criteria.

Her Kaiapoi waiting room is full and people are told they don't have to wear a mask if they don't want to understand everyone is here because they're concerned about the mandates and not sure how to negotiate that," she told those in the waiting room.

"You're here because you're not crazy about being vaccinated. Great, okay you are in the right spot."

Throughout the recordings, she openly discusses her view on the Covid-19 vaccine.

"I mean really this is horrible, horrible medicine."

Listening from a car outside the clinic, Newshub reporter Patrick Gower heard Girouard talk explicitly about how to negotiate with an employer about not being vaccinated.

"What we're trying to do is give a medical certificate saying that you've been assessed and it is not appropriate for you to receive the current vaccine," Girouard tells the waiting room.

"How will that help you? It depends on negotiations with your employers."

During the recording, she also gloats about how one of her certificates has been used to evade international border control.

"I have had someone be able to fly to Australia last week on one, so I mean we have had some success stories reported back to us," she told the Newshub undercover reporter.

After speaking with a group, the unvaccinated doctor starts seeing people individually.

She asks the undercover Newshub reporter why he doesn't want to be vaccinated.

He says he has been "researching it".

To be given a temporary medical exemption, all applications must be made on the Ministry of Health application form by a practitioner and provided to the MoH clinical panel for recommendation to the director general of health.

Girouard then takes the man's blood pressure.

"I'm going to check your blood pressure if that's alright, and really that's just to show that in fact, you were physically here," she told the reporter.

"And again that's just documenting so if anyone questions you 'well did you even see a doctor we can say 'yeah you did'."

Six minutes and $80 later, the man is given a medical certificate, however, Girouard is clear the exemption will not necessarily work to get around mandates.

"And when they ask you for it say 'here you go and when they say 'well what is this' that's when you explain what it is," she said.

"Do your spiel. You say 'I've been using it all over the place, no one's had a problem'.

"You sell it, you become a salesman okay. They don't know what they're doing, you gotta coach them."

The certificate states the man has been examined by Girouard, who has determined based on his medical condition a vaccine would not be wise.

When Gower confronted the doctor she refused to comment.

The Ministry of Health told Newshub they are "aware of this situation and it is under investigation".

Fines or a prison sentence for up to six months can be given for intentional breaches.

WorkSafe also confirmed to Newshub it is making inquiries into Girouard.

Anyone who works "where health services are provided" to the public, and whose role involved being within 2m of a health worker or a member of the public for 15 minutes or more, must be vaccinated.





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