Doctor who quit over vaccine mandate continues to challenge Covid-19 guidance

4:52 pm on 17 December 2021

A controversial Mid Canterbury doctor who quit her job over the vaccination mandate has challenged the guidance of health officials in a presentation to Invercargill City Councillors.

Invercargill City Council Building on Esk St, Invercargill.

Invercargill City Council Building on Esk St, Invercargill. Photo: ODT / Abbey Palmer

Dr Sophie Febery left her job at the Methven Medical Centre in October, due to the vaccine mandate for doctors and health workers.

She has since re-emerged in Southland, where she gave a presentation at an Invercargill City Council infrastructure services committee meeting last week as members considered vaccine requirements for council facilities.

During the meeting's public forum which was live streamed, Dr Febery downplayed the Covid-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of the vaccine, alongside advocating for Ivermectin as "one of the safest drugs in the world".

She later challenged the guidance of Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield during questions from members.

"Are these measures and the segregation of society justified," she said during her submission.

Ivermectin is not approved for use in New Zealand to treat Covid-19 with Medsafe confirming "no clear evidence that it is effective in treating the virus, and it may cause serious harm in some people".

An Invercargill City Council spokeswoman confirmed that they did not do a background check on the GP who requested to speak on the matter.

"We do request that submitters apply to speak specifically on something related to an agenda item included for debate."

Dr Febery, a GP of 16 years, said she was suspended from seeing patients face to face in a social media post on a Methven community page in October.

She later spoke at an anti-lockdown rally in Christchurch where she told patrons that she was being investigated by the Medical Council of New Zealand who allegedly told her not to spread "an antivax message".

The Medical Council would not confirm whether Dr Febery was still under investigation but said it was taking the matter very seriously.

"Council has received a number of notifications that relate to matters about the Covid-19 vaccination and spreading of misinformation," council chair Dr Curtis Walker said.

"Council's view is that there is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional practice, nor any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media and advertising by health practitioners.

"Council expects doctors to be aware of, and comply with, its published standards of clinical and ethical practice."

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