Government announces latest arrangements for Medical Exemption Certificates suspected of abuse in issuance

     The Government announced earlier that the COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificates issued by the seven private doctors who are suspected to have abused the issuance of Exemption Certificates would not be accepted for the purpose of Vaccine Pass starting from October 12.  In view of the interim injunction order handed down by the High Court having considered the pending substantive hearing of the relevant judicial review case, the Government announced today (October 11) the suspension of arrangement to refuse the acceptance of the Exemption Certificates concerned according to the G.N. (E.) 893, 895 and 896 of 2022 published yesterday (October 10) under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Chapter 599, sub. leg. F) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Chapter 599, sub. leg. L) until the court has conducted substantive hearing on the judicial review case concerned and handed down further instruction.
     The Government stressed that the seven private doctors concerned are suspected to have failed to provide proper medical consultations to patients, not giving appropriate clinical assessment before issuing the Exemption Certificates as stipulated in the guidelines of the Department of Health.  The relevant investigation is ongoing.  If relevant individuals continue to delay vaccination according to the recommendations made by the relevant doctors on the Exemption Certificates, they may put their health at risk of severe illness or even deaths in case of COVID-19 infection, and also place an unnecessary burden on the public healthcare system.
     The Government urges relevant individuals to seek medical consultation again from other doctors depending on their needs to ascertain whether they are suitable for receiving COVID-19 vaccination or can continue to be medically exempted.  
     Apart from arranging consultations with other private doctors by themselves, members of the public in need may also visit general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) under the Hospital Authority (HA) (except designated clinics for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and clinics which have temporarily suspended services) where public sector doctors can ascertain whether they can continue to obtain medical exemption according to their clinical condition.  Individuals who use the relevant consult services are exempted from the service fee of the GOPC ($50).  In addition to making appointments through the telephone appointment system or the "Book GOPC" function in the HA's one-stop mobile application "HA Go", they may also visit the GOPCs under the HA directly.  The clinics will arrange for them to seek consultation on the same day or make appointments for consultation.
     A Government spokesman reiterated that, once a fraudulent Exemption Certificate is used to enter premises subject to the Vaccine Pass, information in the QR code will be recorded by the QR Code Verification Scanner at premises subject to active checking.  Government enforcement officers are also entitled to require citizens to present their vaccination record and Exemption Certificate QR Code.  If upon verification, a member of the public is found to have used a fraudulent Exemption Certificate, the relevant information will be passed to enforcement departments for follow-up.  Using a false instrument knowingly may contravene the Crimes Ordinance. The maximum penalty upon conviction is imprisonment for 14 years. Members of the public are urged not to defy the law and not to use Exemption Certificates obtained through improper means.

Ends/Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Issued at HKT 20:18