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‘We had no idea’: Unvaccinated B.C. doctor stuns patients over COVID-19 beliefs

Click to play video: 'Patients receive anti-vax letter from North Shore doctor'
Patients receive anti-vax letter from North Shore doctor
A North Vancouver doctor is telling her patients they need to find a new doctor at the end of the month. She says she'll be out of a job because she's unvaccinated. But there is confusion as an updated health order is suggesting there may be no deadline for health care professionals. Ted Chernecki explains – Mar 8, 2022

Patients of a North Vancouver doctor will now be looking for a new physician.

Dr. Sofia Bayfield with the North Shore Medical Group sent an email letter to her patients, saying after March 24 she will no longer be able to treat them as she is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, this order will pertain to me (despite having recovered from COVID myself), along with thousands of other health care workers who cannot be vaccinated for very legitimate reasons!” Bayfield wrote in the letter.

She did not give any indication as to the reasons why she cannot be vaccinated.

“I will no longer be able to see patients in my family practice as of March 24th, nor do any form of telehealth medicine. I will not be able to practice as a physician in this province AT ALL!!” the letter continued.

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“Because I am unable to be vaccinated, this order will affect not just me and my ability to provide for my family, but all of you who are or have been my patients, as well as patients in the future who would have otherwise been served by myself as a physician.”

The Provincial Health Order was finalized Monday night but while Dr. Bonnie Henry previously mentioned a deadline of March 24, the order posted online said “registrants for whom vaccination status is not found must provide vaccination records to their college by March 31, 2022.”

Read more: B.C. bringing in vaccine mandate for all remaining health-care workers

Read next: COVID misinformation led to at least 2,800 deaths in Canada, $300M in costs: report

Bayfield states this deadline comes as more than 90 per cent of the population being vaccinated didn’t prevent “the huge wave of cases and hospitalisations (sic),” that the number of people in hospitals in the last two months “have been more than double the numbers seen during the worst phase of the Delta wave.”

Bayfield continues, arguing there are more than 50 ongoing or developing outbreaks around B.C. on a daily basis, that it has “been proven by multiple scientific studies” that the COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus, “thus, being treated by a vaccinated health care worker is no less risky than being treated by an unvaccinated health care worker” and that “it has been proven beyond dispute that COVID-recovered individuals are now immune to re-infection for much longer than a vaccinated individual making COVID-recovered health care workers some of the ‘safest’ to be around.”

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Click to play video: 'B.C. health officials announce vaccine mandate for remaining health-care workers'
B.C. health officials announce vaccine mandate for remaining health-care workers

One of Bayfield’s patients said she was shocked upon receiving the letter.

“It was very upsetting because we had no idea our doctor wasn’t vaccinated,” Rhonda Spence told Global News.

“The other part, of course, is there’s now hundreds of people across the North Shore are scrambling to find a new doctor.”

Spence said the worst part was Bayfield was “cherry-picking facts,” saying the vaccines were not that effective and because she had COVID, she is safe to be around.

“I found that part the most upsetting because this went to many, many people, some of whom may be vulnerable and may be feeling some kind of pressure as she was asking people to take some kind of action about that as well,” Spence said.

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Spence said Bayfield is a great doctor and the community is sad to lose her but that she crossed a line “that was so inappropriate that I needed to speak up,” she added.

Click to play video: 'B.C. among last provinces to drop vaccine card and mask mandate'
B.C. among last provinces to drop vaccine card and mask mandate

She said Bayfield should not have used her position as a medical doctor to make statements that are not true.

“It’s just very distressing that she’s going to lose her job and people are going to lose her as a doctor for something that just seems to me (to be) so stupid,” Spence said.

“I really feel badly about it. But the facts are the facts. You can’t spread misinformation, it’s something that we all need to do (something) about and that’s why I spoke up.”

All doctors in B.C. must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by March 24, or they risk losing their licence.

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In her letter, Bayfield urges patients to reach out to government officials to pull back on the vaccine mandate for health-care workers.

The order applies to nearly 30 other health care professions as well.

Bayfield declined Global News’ request for comment.

On the medical centre’s website, it states, “While we respect this Physician’s rights to their own opinions, the remaining 11 physicians at North Shore Medical Group do not support the conclusions this physician has reached and we continue, without exception, to support the current scientific medical recommendations and to encourage all patients to be vaccinated.”

— with files from Ted Chernecki

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