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Secretary for Health declares invalidation of all Medical Exemption Certificates issued by seven registered medical practitioners
     The Government announced today (October 26) that the Secretary for Health, pursuant to section 17B(1) of the amended Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Cap. 599, sub. leg. L) (the Regulation), declared separately the invalidation of all COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificates (Exemption Certificates) issued by the seven registered medical practitioners stated in Annex. The aforementioned invalidation declarations (published on Government website: www.healthbureau.gov.hk/en/our_work/health/gid.html) will take effect on November 9. By that time, all Exemption Certificates previously issued by the medical practitioners concerned can no longer be used for meeting the Vaccine Pass requirements. At the same time, neither can Exemption Certificate issued by the seven registered medical practitioners after the making of the aforementioned invalidation declarations be used for meeting the Vaccine Pass requirements.

     Before making the above group invalidation declarations, the Secretary for Health had had regard to all relevant factors in accordance with the Regulation, including (but not limited to) the possible adverse consequences of the integrity and robustness of the regime of the Vaccine Pass system being compromised; there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that the relevant registered medical practitioner has issued any Exemption Certificate without conducting a clinical assessment; and the number of Exemption Certificates issued by the relevant medical practitioner within a particular span of time, and the pattern and mode of such issuance. Having regard to the above factors, on the basis of information and records available, the Secretary for Health considers that it is in the public interest that all Exemption Certificates issued by the seven registered medical practitioners concerned cease to be valid for the purposes of the Vaccine Pass system.

     According to the Regulation, the seven registered medical practitioners concerned can make written representations to the Secretary for Health on or before November 1 as to why the group invalidation declarations should not be made. The Secretary for Health reserves the right not to consider any written representations received after November 1.

     According to the eHealth records, the seven registered medical practitioners concerned issued in total nearly 20 000 Exemption Certificates, the validity period of which have yet to expire, accounting for more than half of the Exemption Certificates that are still valid. The Secretary for Health has made arrangements in accordance with the Regulation, to enable the members of the public who hold invalidated Exemption Certificates to undergo clinical assessment by other registered medical practitioners following the guidelines issued by the Department of Health, for determining whether they are unsuitable for being vaccinated with any type of COVID-19 vaccines. Apart from arranging consultations with other private doctors by themselves, relevant members of the public 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. The clinics will arrange for them to seek consultation on the same day or make appointments for consultation. The service fee of the GOPC ($50) will also be exempted.

     A Government spokesman stressed that the Vaccine Pass is an important tool to fight against the epidemic and safeguard public health. The objective of the relevant measure is to protect individuals who have not yet completed the COVID-19 vaccination course, reducing the risks borne when they enter high-risk premises, and at the same time to avoid placing unnecessary burden on the public healthcare system. The Government calls upon members of the public who hold invalidated Exemption Certificates to consult doctors again as soon as practicable according to their health needs so as to ascertain whether they are suitable for receiving COVID-19 vaccines or may continue to obtain medical exemption. The spokesman also reminded that 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/Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Issued at HKT 20:40
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