Ontario physicians briefed on psychiatric referrals for COVID-19 vaccine exemption seekers

The profession's governing body is instructing physicians refer patients seeking COVID-19 vaccine exemptions to a therapist while concurrently sharing factually incorrect information about vaccine efficacy.

Ontario physicians briefed on psychiatric referrals for COVID-19 vaccine exemption seekers
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Ontario’s medical governing body has responded to requests for clarification by physicians uncertain of how to approach COVID-19 vaccine exemptions requested by their patients.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) issued a physician advisory titled COVID-19 FAQs for Physicians. It includes general guidance on how to quell vaccine exemptions. It was last updated on November 18, 2022.

The question reads, “Patients are asking me to write notes supporting a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccines — what do I need to know?”

CPSO delegates detail that in order to be exempted from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, a patient “must have a legitimate medical condition that would warrant an exemption.”

“Acceptable” medical exemptions are restricted to an “allergist/immunologist confirmed severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose… or a diagnosed episode of myocarditis/pericarditis after receipt of an mRNA vaccine.”

A patient would only be exempt if they had already taken at least one injection and suffered a documented adverse event. For reference, adverse events typically have an underreporting rate of approximately 95%.

Doctors would have easily provided medical reports — including exemption notes — to their patients without fear of reprimand by their regulatory body prior to the pandemic, as evidenced by this paragraph:

While physicians are generally required to complete third party medical reports for patients when requested, the circumstances of the pandemic support physicians declining to write notes or complete forms when the patient making the request does not have a medical condition that warrants an exemption. If you find yourself in this situation, clearly and sensitively explain to your patient that you cannot provide them with a note or form, along with the reasons why.

The guidance document further promotes referrals and prescription medications for patients to “manage anxieties related to the vaccine and not enable avoidance behaviour.”

It notes that “responsible use of prescription medications and/or referral to psychotherapy may be available options,” and that “physicians have a responsibility to allow their patients to be properly informed about vaccines and not have those anxieties empowered by an exemption.”

Oddly, the same guidance document asks, “why should physicians get vaccinated?” The paragraph that follows appears to make factually incorrect claims.

It starts off by saying that “having a full vaccinated health-care profession is critical to minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and/or outbreaks in offices, clinics and hospitals.”

Yet the CDC knew by August of 2021 that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals carry similar viral loads. And data sets being analyzed in Ontario showed that it was booster recipients being hit the hardest by COVID.

The guidance document further states that “the COVID-19 vaccine reduces your chance of becoming infected and is one of the best ways to control the spread of the virus.”

However, real world data from the Ontario Ministry of Health repeatedly showed the opposite to be true.

Lastly, the CPSO claims that “getting vaccinated is an essential step to protecting your own health, the health of your patients, and the community at large.”

However, Pfizer’s own director admitted they could have never tested this novel product for transmission reduction because they were “moving at the speed of science.”

Why does the CPSO’s latest update seem to ignore all of the above-mentioned scientific information?

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