Medical Council imposes interim suspension on three doctors accused of promoting anti-vaccination views

Three doctors have had their practising certificates suspended on an interim basis pending investigation for "conduct relating to COVID-19".

Dr Peter Canaday, Dr Emanuel Garcia, and Dr Matthew Shelton have drawn attention for their opposition to COVID vaccinations.

Dr Canaday is accused of spreading COVID-19 and vaccine falsehoods via public talks and online presentations about the pandemic and vaccine rollout.

RNZ reports Dr Garcia - a Wellington psychiatrist - also released multiple videos opposing the vaccine, saying in one he was "deeply concerned" about the Pfizer rollout.

And Stuff reports Dr Shelton texted patients at his practice saying he did not support vaccinating children and pregnant and fertile women.

In a release announcing their interim suspensions on Tuesday, the Medical Council of New Zealand said it takes these matters "very seriously" and public health and safety remains its "top priority".

"There is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional practice, nor any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media and advertising by health practitioners," Medical Council chair Dr Curtis Walker said in the statement.

"Council expects doctors to be aware of, and comply with, its published standards of clinical and ethical practice.

"If a doctor is under investigation and Council has reasonable doubts regarding the appropriateness of their professional conduct, such as not complying with the standards set by Council, in appropriate cases options to Council include suspension or placing conditions on a doctor's practice."

The three doctors have appealed the Council's decisions to the District Court, and the appeals are currently scheduled to be heard in February.