ACT calls for chiropractors to be removed from COVID-19 vaccine mandate after two fined thousands for seeing patients unvaccinated

ACT's health spokesperson Brooke van Velden says mandates for chiropractors are illogical.
ACT's health spokesperson Brooke van Velden says mandates for chiropractors are illogical. Photo credit: Newshub

The ACT Party is calling for chiropractors to be removed from the healthcare vaccine mandate after two were fined thousands for seeing patients while unvaccinated. 

Dr Steven Morse of Timaru was given three infringement notices, while Dr Ryno Tope of Hawke's Bay was issued with one, the Ministry of Health revealed on Friday. 

The notices were for breaching clause 7 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Order 2021 by seeing patients while unvaccinated. Each infringement notice carries a $4000 fee. 

Under the Government's vaccine mandates, anyone working in the health or disability sector must be vaccinated. 

But the ACT Party isn't happy. Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden told Newshub that mandating vaccines for chiropractors is "illogical". 

"Chiropractors are better at adjustments than most of us but the Government's illogical vaccine mandates have even them bent out of shape," van Velden said. 

She said there's no reason chiropractors should need to be vaccinated when hairdressers don't. 

"They are the latest victim of the Government's bizarre approach to restrictions. There's no rhyme or reason as to why chiropractors need mandates more than other businesses such as hairdressers, yet the Government refuses to budge."

Van Velden said chiropractors should be able to take other steps such as regular testing instead. 

"Like the rest of us, chiropractors just want to get cracking with life and are willing to take steps such as RAT testing and minimised contact time to do so. But the Government doesn't want to hear about it.

"We're supposed to be moving on from COVID-19 but instances of control like this make no sense and are indicative of why we're being left behind while the rest of the world gets on with life.

"It's time to move on from fear and take back control of our lives from unending Government restrictions.

"We should not keep ineffective and costly rules for no reason. If rules are not useful, they should go and it should be up to the Government that imposes them on us to explain why they should stay."

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub ACT seems to think chiropractors are not heath professionals. 

"It's important to recognise that chiropractors, along with other health sector workers, work in very close proximity to consumers, many of whom may have underlying health conditions," Hipkins said. 

"Those that continue to be covered by the vaccine mandates need to protect themselves and the consumer from the transmission and effects of COVID-19, a serious and highly transmissible illness.

"Any chiropractor working face-to-face with patients is covered by the mandatory vaccinations order. ACT appears to be of the view that chiropractors are not health professionals, which is an insult to them."

Chiropractors fall under the health sector, not beauty which includes hairdressers. The health and disability mandate is in place because workers deal with vulnerable and high-risk patients and are often also more at risk of catching the virus themselves.