Health officials are voicing concern over doctors offering potentially fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine exemptions.
EnableAir.com claimed to be a Kelowna-based website offering vaccine exemptions, although it has since taken down that promise.
Dr. Jeffrey Eppler, an emergency physician at Kelowna General Hospital, said it is disappointing to hear that possibly fake vaccine exemption letters are being issued.
“I think it’s fairly deplorable,” he said. “For a physician to basically issue these certificates based on, I think, probably not very strong medical exemptions is almost fraudulent in my opinion.”
During a briefing earlier this week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said officials are investigating the allegations.
“Yes, I’ve seen a number of the so-called certificates from a number of physicians, and yes, the college has the responsibility as the regulatory authority to reach out and take action,” she said.
B.C.’s College of Physicians and Surgeons confirms it has received reports of illegitimate vaccine exemption and deferral letters being used by British Columbians who don’t have a vaccine card.
There are a few, mostly temporary, valid reasons for a medical deferral.
“We’ve put out guidance for physicians on what constitutes a valid medical exemption and what constitutes fraud, to be frank,” Henry said.
Some of the reasons include anaphylaxis confirmed by an allergist to certain ingredients that are in both kinds of vaccines, a diagnosis of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or a patient who had a serious adverse reaction to the first dose of the vaccine and is still waiting for a recommendation from a medical health officer.
Vaccine exemption or deferrals can only be given out by physicians licensed by B.C.’s College of Physicians and Surgeons or nurse practitioners licensed by the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives.
They must state the patient’s full name and the issuing physician’s name and signature.
B.C government releases list of vaccination exemptions
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