28th September 2022 – (Hong Kong) In response to media enquiries on individual private doctors suspected of abusing the issuance of Medical Exemption Certificates in relation to COVID-19 vaccination, a spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) stressed today that the DH has all along been actively and seriously following up on the cases, and that the involved 7 doctors have been suspended immediately from issuing Medical Exemption Certificates via the eHealth System (Subsidies). The Health Bureau and the DH have also referred the cases to the Medical Council of Hong Kong for follow-up.
The spokesman said that after the Government noted the concerned irregularities, the DH immediately suspended those doctors’ participation in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme and is retrieving the COVID-19 vaccines distributed to the concerned doctors earlier, and they can not provide further COVID-19 vaccination service to the public. Furthermore, the DH has also suspended the involved doctors’ participation in other subsidy programmes under the department (such as other vaccination subsidy schemes and the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme). They can no longer issue further Medical Exemption Certificates under the Vaccine Pass arrangement.
The DH has again reminded private doctors of the importance of boosting the vaccination rate to build an immunity barrier. The guidelines issued by the DH to doctors have listed in detail the medical reasons for being not suitable for vaccination. Doctors should only issue a Medical Exemption Certificate after verifying that the person concerned is not suitable for receiving the CoronaVac and Comirnaty vaccines currently provided in Hong Kong. When considering the issuance of Medical Exemption Certificates, doctors are required to refer to the guidelines issued by the DH and follow the Code of Professional Conduct for the Guidance of Registered Medical Practitioners when making clinical judgements to decide whether a patient’s condition satisfies the listed medical reasons for not being suitable for vaccination.
The Government will continue to closely monitor the issuance of Medical Exemption Certificates by doctors. If any irregularities, contravention of the Code of Professional Conduct for the Guidance of Registered Medical Practitioners or criminal acts are found, the Government will handle the cases seriously and pass the relevant information to the Medical Council of Hong Kong and enforcement departments for follow-up as appropriate.
HKSAR Govt Press Release