10 Jan 2022

Anti-vaccination doctor Jonie Girouard can no longer practise in New Zealand

5:49 pm on 10 January 2022

A Kaiapoi doctor caught handing out fake vaccine exemptions is no longer registered to practise medicine in New Zealand.

Dr Jonie Girouard.

A screengrab of Dr Jonie Girouard. ​ Photo: A screengrab from Newshub

Footage of Jonie Girouard​ issuing bogus exemptions and coaching people on how to use them sparked an investigation into the North Canterbury GP in December.

Medical Council chairperson Curtis Walker said Dr Girouard​ was now unable to practise medicine in New Zealand, as she was no longer registered.

"Council takes these matters very seriously and our concern is demonstrated by the publication of our recent guidance emphasising council's view 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," Walker said.

"The council steps in as early as possible when a notification is made, or information comes to light to put in place any necessary arrangements to make sure patients are kept safe."

Walker said privacy concerns limited the council commenting on individual practitioners.

"The Medical Council thanks the thousands of doctors who are contributing to New Zealand's pandemic response."

A statement from the Medical Council said that Dr Girouard's entry from the register was removed at her own request and took effect from 22 December 2021.

In December the council suspended the practising certificates of three doctors as it investigated claims they had shared Covid-19 misinformation.

Dr Peter Canaday, Dr Emanuel Garcia, and Dr Matthew Shelton are unable to practise, but have appealed the council's decision to the District Court.

The trio's appeal is scheduled to take place next month.

The same month, Walker said the Medical Council had begun gathering information "with urgency" once the footage of Girouard​ aired on Newshub.

At the time, he said the council followed a process of natural justice and would be discussing the matter with her.

GPs could not provide vaccine exemptions and the only way to get one was via the Ministry of Health through the Director-General of Health, Walker said.

Hailing from the United States, Dr Girouard and her husband, Michael, have both worked as doctors for over 20 years, including as missionaries in Ecuador and Africa.

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