Country doctor vows to shut practice after police called over vaccine exemption claims
3rd November 2021

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A regional Victorian doctor has undertaken stop practising medicine, after police were called to his surgery over reports that hundreds of people had gathered there to seek COVID-19 vaccination exemptions.

Video footage allegedly taken last month near a general practitioner’s clinic in Elliminyt, near Colac, showed cars parked on both sides of the road and dozens of people lining up outside.

At the time, Victoria Police said officers had been called to the surgery on Wednesday, October 13, after receiving “reports of a large number of people gathering outside the clinic for vaccination exemptions”.

They were investigating whether anyone who attended the surgery had breached the Chief Health Officer’s COVID-19 directions, which then limited Melburnians’ travel to 15 kilometres from their homes.

“The crowd was dispersed without incident,” police said.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency records show that the doctor undertook to stop practising medicine, effective from October 28.

“For the purposes of this undertaking, ‘practice’ is defined as any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a medical practitioner in their profession,” his registration details said.

The clinic website on Wednesday said: “Sorry … closed till further notice.”

“All appointments null and void …”

The doctor did not respond to The Age’s request for comment.

At the time police attended the surgery, an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency spokesman said that advising against COVID-19 vaccinations, unless there were evidence-based medical reasons for doing so, undermined the national immunisation campaign and was not supported by its board.

Practitioners being asked to supply vaccination exemptions were urged to get familiar with advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the regulator said it was limited in what it could say about individual matters because of confidentiality provisions, and it could not provide any more details about the case.

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