Police investigating Canterbury doctor Dr Jonie Girouard for giving out medical certificates as vaccine exemptions

Police have confirmed they're now investigating Dr Jonie Girouard, the Christchurch GP Newshub filmed giving out exemption certificates for the COVID-19 vaccine.

It comes after the New Zealand Medical Association laid an official complaint against her on Thursday.

Newshub can now reveal the doctor has been doing this often - and other doctors around the country are doing it too.

On Thursday, the sign read open but the door was locked.

Dr Girouard was not at work after Newshub revealed the registered GP hands out medical certificates saying people should be exempt from the vaccine.

She also coached our undercover reporter on how to use it to get past employers affected by mandates.

"You sell it, you become a salesman, okay? They don't know what they're doing, you gotta coach them," she told him.

The chair of the NZMA, which represents doctors, is now taking action.

"The Medical Association has laid a complaint with the police," Dr Alistair Humphrey told Newshub. "At face value it looks like fraud is being committed here, which lies with the police."

The police have confirmed it has received the complaint, which "will be assessed accordingly and investigated with the assistance of the NZMA and Ministry of Health". 

Police told Newshub they "have a range of resources when investigating fraud complaints" and warned that individuals could "find themselves charged under the Crimes Act or the COVID-19 Health Act".

Newshub can reveal Dr Girouard has given out many certificates. This is her addressing a group of Canterbury businesses.

"The vaccine really violates my faith, and so I sent a letter of exemption to my employer, who is my husband," she said, to laughter.

An email from an anti-vaccine group reads: "Jonie is taking group bookings on Friday, so don't be surprised if there are a bunch of you at the same time. This is the only way she can get through the huge numbers of people who need them."

Our undercover reporter filmed one such meeting, at which she told the group assembled they were "in the right place" if they weren't crazy about getting vaccinated.

Dr Humphrey, formerly the Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says Dr Girouard needs to be stopped.

"There is a risk there that this doctor will issue more of these certificates, that puts us all at risk," he said.

Stopping her is up to the New Zealand Medical Council of New Zealand - a different body which registers doctors.

"The Medical Council will make a decision about whether to suspend this doctor pending any investigations," Dr Humphrey said.

But other anti-vaccine doctors are also issuing the certificates, which, it is important to note, do not actually exempt people from the vaccine - that has to be done by the Ministry of Health.

One certificate issued by a doctor in Whangarei and given to an Auckland business owner says a person "has been examined by me and I have determined it would be inappropriate for her to be vaccinated against Sars-Cov-2".

Another group of anti-vaccine doctors have a click-through process to apply for certificates about exemption too.

"I would recommend to anybody who received a fraudulent certificate from a doctor to report them to the police," Dr Humphrey said.

There is also top-level political concern at Dr Girouard's certificate scheme.

"I think everybody would be disappointed and upset to see a health professional undertaking activity that puts others at risk," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"I think it's just disgraceful; I mean, honestly, it's just crazy and nuts," added new National leader Chris Luxon.

But Dr Girouard is actually able to practice, even though she says she isn't even vaccinated like doctors are meant to be.

"Nah, you couldn't force me, I'll stop practising medicine before I get vaccinated with this vaccine. I have had lots of vaccines before, but not this one," she was filmed saying.

Dr Jonie Girouard, still a registered doctor - but how long for?