Auckland, December 9, 2021
The owner of a Weight-Loss Clinic in Canterbury, allegedly issuing ‘Unofficial Covid-19 Vaccine Exemptions,’ is likely to face charges of breaching the Health Act in force.
Dr Jonie Girouard was the subject of sting operation by Newshub.
If convicted, she could face a prison sentence of up to six months.
She reportedly told the Reporter, “You are here because you are not crazy about being vaccinated. Great, Okay, you are in the right spot. I mean this is a horrible, horrible medicine.”
The Newshub Reporter was in the Clinic posing as a person in need of Vaccine Exemption to enable him to work in mandated websites and spiel to potential employers.
“They do not know what they are doing, you go to coach them,” Dr Girouard said.
Newshub filmed a Kaiapoi GP undercover coaching clients on how to get away with using them. She is reported to be telling patients that one of her certificates had been used for international travel.
“I have had someone be able to fly to Australia last week on one. I mean that we have had some success stories reported back to us,” she said.
Ministry of Health must approved all exemptions and health professionals are not allowed to issue such certificates.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins described the action of Dr Girouard as ‘unethical.’
He told Morning Report that he was sure that the woman would be investigated by the Ministry and the professional body governing General Practitioners.
“The information that the doctor is handing out is wrong.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that the Ministry of Health was looking closely into what was occurring.
“I think everyone would be disappointed and upset to see a health professional who is undertaking activity in this way that puts others at risk. I understand that the Ministry of Health is working on this issue. If a medical professional is not vaccinated they should not be operating. We have a requirement on our workforce now that they are vaccinated,” she said.
Medical Association warning
Medical Association Chairman Dr Alistair Humphrey said that he was aware of the case and that the Police were aware of it.
“Doctors could be successfully prosecuted for fraud if they were found to have issued false certificates. Any GP cannot issue an Exemption Certificate. Employers should be aware that any of this kind of note is not the appropriate way of doing it. Dr Girouard is not a member of the Medical Association,” he said.
The Health and Disability Commissioner has received 11 complaints about vaccination exemptions provided by health professionals but could not say if Girouard was the subject of a complaint due to privacy rules.
-Information gathered from Newshub and www.rnz.co.nz.