Coronavirus: Rogue doctors charging for vaccine exemptions are 'trying to rip you off' - Chris Hipkins

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says anyone claiming to be able to grant exemptions to vaccine mandates for a fee is "trying to rip you off". 

He said on Wednesday a process will soon be in place that will outline how to get an exemption to the mandates, which cover a wide range of industries including education and healthcare.

"We have had reports of people aggressively demanding from clinicians, vaccination exemptions. No one is entitled to aggressively demand an exemption from the vaccination requirements," Hipkins said at the usual 1pm news conference at the Beehive.

"There is a process that we are putting in place - everyone who needs an exemption will need to follow that same process."

A controversial group called NZ Doctors Speaking Out With Science, which has spread false information about the Pfizer vaccine being used in New Zealand's rollout, has been offering "an online clinic staffed by registered nurses with access to medical doctors". For $75, the group - which reportedly includes very few actual practising GPs - says it can issue vaccine exemptions. 

If people are struggling to pay, the group says they can do it for $50. 

"If someone's offering to sell you an exemption, or suggesting you could pay a fee for the service of getting an exemption, they are trying to rip you off," said Hipkins.

"There is no other language that I can use, than that. It is a ripoff scheme. Don't do it. There will be one exemption process and everybody will have to follow it." 

Other anti-vax groups such as Voices for Freedom have been telling followers exemptions could be granted by people occupying a wide range of professions, including dieticians, midwives and even practitioners of pseudoscientific practices such as chiropractic. 

The formal exemption process will come into force from November 6 for Corrections workers and November 15 for health and disability workers and education workers. People are not allowed to exempt themselves, the Ministry of Health website says. 

Healthcare and education workers will need to have their second doses by January 1, and Corrections staff by December 8.