Ontario doctors face consequences over COVID-19 medical exemptions

Oct 19 2021, 8:49 pm

Ontario doctors can be banned from providing COVID-19 medical exemptions if they don’t follow provincial guidelines.

Physicians in Ontario are allowed to grant medical exemptions for mask wearing, vaccination, and testing, but they must ensure that they are not putting the public at risk when they do so.

In Ontario, three doctors have had to face consequences and are now barred from providing patients with medical exemptions for masking, testing, and vaccinations. They must also post information about these restrictions in their offices.

The Ontario government provided physicians with clear instructions and criteria for medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine. Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said that the exemptions are still far higher than they should be.

“The evidence is clear that for the vast majority of patients, the available vaccines are safe and effective and remain our best tool in ending this pandemic. Generally speaking, there are very few acceptable medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination,” the College of Ontario Physicians and Surgeons said in a statement.

According to Dr. Kieran Moore, the number of medical exemptions for vaccines should be between one and five in 100,000. In Ontario, the number of medical exemptions is at one to two in 100, or 1% to 2%

Physicians in Ontario are mandated to provide details for why a patient is being granted a medical exemption to ensure that they are being given out for appropriate reasons. In addition, physicians must provide a time period for the exemption.

“We have made clear to physicians that we expect that any vaccine exemptions issued are based on valid medical criteria and are consistent with criteria established by the Ontario Ministry of Health. We have also taken steps to limit the opportunity for abuse by requiring that any exemptions detail a clear clinical rationale,” the College said.

While the situation is complicated and there are nuances involved when providing medical exemptions for masking, things are a bit more clear-cut in terms of medical exemptions for vaccines and testing for COVID-19.

“Deliberately providing patients with exemption documentation that does not meet Ministry criteria or providing exemptions to circumvent vaccination mandates could constitute serious misconduct. We take these matters very seriously and, wherever we become aware of allegations, we would take all appropriate steps to investigate,” the College said in a statement.

So far, in Ontario, Dr. Mark Trozzi, Dr. Rochagne Kilian and Dr. Patrick Phillips have had restrictions applied to their medical practices. None are allowed to provide medical exemptions for masking, testing or vaccination.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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