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‘Fraud is a crime’: B.C. doctor pens open letter to people asking for vaccine exemption notes

Click to play video: 'B.C. doctor getting requests for vaccine exemption letters' B.C. doctor getting requests for vaccine exemption letters
With the province's vaccine passport set to take effect Monday, some are rushing to get last minute vaccinations while others are still not sold. As Kristen Robinson reports, a Kamloops area doctor says his clinic has had to fight back against patients seeking a way to avoid getting immunized – Sep 11, 2021

A B.C. doctor says he’s seeing an increase in patients asking for a letter that exempts them from the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as other vaccine-related questions.

In a three-page open letter posted online, Dr. Shane Barclay of the Sun Peaks Community Health Centre near Kamloops wrote, “It is with some dismay that I am even writing this letter,” then went on to say there are very few legitimate reasons why people shouldn’t be vaccinated.

And because there are so few reasons, the doctor said, being asked to write a medical exemption letter for a patient who doesn’t meet the criteria amounts to fraud.

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“Fraud is a crime. A doctor can be charged, fined and potentially lose their license to practice medicine for fraud,” wrote Barclay.

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“I can’t speak for other physicians, but I am not prepared to commit fraud so someone can avoid a vaccine.”

His letter also discussed vaccine safety, stating that COVID-19 vaccines are 94-per-cent effective in preventing severe COVID-19 hospitalizations and death.

“That is far better than most medications and treatments we give to patients,” he said. “If you don’t believe doctors are recommending the vaccine in good faith, perhaps don’t ask doctors for antibiotics for pneumonia or other infections.”

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The letter also discussed blood clot numbers and the mRNA component of the vaccine.

“Then we hear of the ‘but mRNA vaccines are too new and can alter our DNA’. Actually, mRNA technology has been around since the 1990s,” he wrote.

“Most vaccines contain killed viruses or virus particles which allow our bodies to develop antibodies for protection. mRNA vaccines don’t contain any virus at all.”

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He added: “No part of this vaccine goes into our cell nucleus where our DNA is, so no part of the vaccine interacts or alters our DNA. Elegant and safe.”

He also addressed misinformation around treatment and prevention: “I guess for completeness, although I shouldn’t even have to address this, chloroquine and Ivermectin do not work against COVID. Plain and simple.”

Barclay said the health centre will continue to see all patients, vaccinated or not, though he added that unvaccinated patients will be seen towards the end of the day.

“That ensures they are not in the building when potentially other patients, such as children, are also in the clinic, but it is primarily meant to protect the unvaccinated.”

He ended the note with his continued hope that everyone will get vaccinated.

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“Yes, I believe the vaccines are safe (so far over 5.3 billion vaccines have been given with over 2 billion people worldwide being fully vaccinated — which regrettable is only 27.8 per cent of the world’s population).

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“Yes, we may need boosters. Yes, this pandemic is a long way from being over. Yes, I believe we will continue to see more variants that could well be more virulent and deadly than even the Delta variant.

“Yes, variants are more likely to occur if people are not vaccinated. Yes, I believe that the only way the world, not just Sun Peaks, will get through this without seeing tens of millions of people die (so far, it’s over 4.5 million deaths) is if we all get vaccinated, follow public health guidelines and yes, even follow mandates.”

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