On 27 September 2022, the Hong Kong government announced that the COVID-19 vaccination medical exemption certificates issued by seven private doctors will not be accepted and will be deemed invalid from 12 October 2022. The names of the seven doctors can be found here: https://gia.info.gov.hk/general/202209/27/P2022092700632_402368_1_1664283109294.pdf

The invalidation of the medical exemption certificates follows the involvement of the seven doctors in Police arrest operations for allegedly abusing the issuance of medical exemption certificates. Legal proceedings are still ongoing for some of the cases.

The government reported that the seven private doctors issued more than 20,000 medical exemption certificates which are still within the validity period. This accounts for more than half of the medical exemption certificates that are still valid.

If an improper medical exemption certificate is used to enter premises subject to the Vaccine Pass, information in the QR code will be recorded by the scanner. If a person is found to have used an invalid or fraudulent medical exemption certificate, the relevant information will be passed to enforcement departments for investigation . Using a false instrument knowingly may contravene the Crimes Ordinance, of which the maximum penalty upon conviction is imprisonment of up to 14 years.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers should check their list of current medical exemption certificates to see if any have been issued by the seven named doctors. An employer should proactively discuss with any employee who has submitted a medical exemption certificate issued by one of the seven named doctors to determine if and when a new valid certificate will be provided or whether they will take the vaccine.

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