14 Jan 2022

Covid-19: Doctor recording vaccinated patients as 'magnetic' in clinic notes

8:30 pm on 14 January 2022

A New Zealand doctor has been accused of writing clinic notes describing Covid-19-vaccinated patients as "magnetic".

Vaccination Centre Sign

(File image) When the Ministry of Health released data showing Covid-19 vaccinations rates by suburb and rural community in October, Murupara was the lowest per 1000 people. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

A colleague who discovered the records was so concerned, they wrote to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

The ministerial emails have been released to RNZ under the Official Information Act.

The letter sent on 4 November, says "I have spoken to a pregnant patient at the practice in [redacted] who, despite an intention to get vaccinated, was convinced to not get the vaccine after listening to arguments.

"I have seen clinic notes for patients whom I was subsequently asked to review where [name redacted] records them as having become magnetic after getting vaccinated."

RNZ understands the anti-vax practitioner is Dr Bernard Conlon from the Murupara Medical Centre.

The letter describes when the anti-vax doctor "literally jumped out of" their chair and "clapped hands in celebration" when they saw their community was "at the bottom of the league table for vaccinations".

When the Ministry of Health released data showing Covid-19 vaccinations rates by suburb and rural community in October, Murupara was the lowest per 1000 people, when less than one third of residents had had one jab.

The doctor who wrote the letter to the minister said they had "been both a recipient of, and witness to, impassioned insistence that the vaccine should best be avoided".

"[Name redacted] has told me directly, and in no uncertain terms, that the vaccine is dangerous. [Name redacted] insists that getting the vaccine puts the recipient at increased risk of harm, and will prevent that person from developing natural immunity, ultimately making them at greater risk of injury, but also greater risk to the people around them through an increased risk of transmitting the virus to others.

"I have personally been offered hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin (veterinarian ivermectin) from [name redacted] despite not being [name redacted] patient. I have listened to [name redacted] persuade patients that vaccinations are dangerous and ought to be avoided, instead insisting that 'the smart money' is on early intervention with zinc, vitamin C, N-Acetylcysteine, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin, with the promise that would help them through their infections (locally) and this would afford them 'natural immunity' towards the current strain, and future mutations."

The author finished the letter by saying the anti-vax doctor was "not a safe person to be influencing the healthcare" of patients, "irrespective of history and great mana".

"My fear is that [name redacted] already had more than enough time to poison local peoples' beliefs, and I hope that you will deny [name redacted] request for a publicly endorsed platform to spread influence further."

One of Chris Hipkins' secretaries then emailed Health Minister Andrew Little's office, with links to news stories about Dr Conlon.

They said the emailed letter was "pretty concerning" but, in another thread, Ministry of Health Chief Medical Officer Andrew Connolly said only the Medical Council could stop the doctor practising.

Dr Conlon and his partner and colleague Dr Britta Noske have been public about their anti-Covid-19 vaccination beliefs for months.

Both still have their Medical Council practising certificates, but Dr Conlon is being investigated for questioning the safety of the vaccine at a public meeting last year.

In posts on Facebook, the centre has encouraged community members to use a "Community Covid First Aid Kit".

This includes mouthwashes, ointment, vitamin D supplements, zinc, and multivitamins, while in other posts from the centre attributed to Dr Conlon, the vaccination is described as "a gene therapy injection".

Dr Noske told RNZ this afternoon: "I'm yet to see a decent story that any of you guys have written about us".

"Stuff that the media is putting out makes me completely unimpressed. I refuse to engage anymore because this is ridiculous," Dr Noske said.

The pair have not been able to do face-to-face consultations since vaccines were mandated for health workers. They have relied on telehealth instead.

Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners medical director Dr Bryan Betty told RNZ if notes were digital they could not normally be wiped.

"If it's under a practice management system - which is a computerised system that doctors and GPs all across New Zealand use - those notes are all traceable," Betty said.

Medical Council investigations were thorough but "like any judicial process it can take a period of time to resolve" - often months, he said.

"Obviously the person who is being investigated needs to be able to respond to anything that has been brought forward."

In a statement, a government spokesperson said: "Ministers can not intervene directly in matters of professional standards or behaviour in any profession, other than to report any instances to the relevant professional body, in this case the Medical Council."

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said: "The Covid-19 vaccine is one of the more well-studied medicines of our time.

"The technology used to create the vaccine has been developed over decades of research and interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardised and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.

"This technology could be quickly adapted to create an effective vaccine against Covid-19. The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has met international standards for quality, safety, and efficacy. The vaccine is safe."

There is no evidence the vaccine makes people magnetic.

The Medical Council said it was unable to comment on individual cases, for privacy reasons.

"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 ensure public safety. These may include voluntary undertakings, conditions, or suspension.

"If council considers that the notification needs to be investigated further, and the complaint relates to a doctor's conduct, the matter is referred to a Professional Conduct Committee.

"A Professional Conduct Committee is separate to the council. All investigations are carried out by a PCC."

  • Otago Covid-19 experts copping abuse
  • Covid-19: Relief as anti-vax psychiatrist suspended
  • Covid-19: Hamilton mum who fought for life in ICU raises awareness after own disbelief
  • Dunedin nurse referred to Nursing Council over online threats to attack vaccination buses
  • Less than 30 antivax GPs in NZ, college estimates