A Co Kildare GP who refused to administer Covid-19 vaccines to his patients has been suspended by the Medical Council.
The council, which regulates medical doctors in the State, confirmed that Dr Gerard Waters had been suspended “until further steps are taken”.
Dr Waters, a GP at the Whitethorn Clinic in Celbridge, last month told RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline programme that he was a “conscientious objector” to the Covid-19 vaccine and would not be recommending it to his patients.
He later told The Irish Times he would not administer the vaccine on the basis that he believed it was untrustworthy and unnecessary.
“My problem primarily is that I don’t think the pathogenicity of Covid is sufficiently severe to a. cause lockdowns or b. use a messenger RNA [vaccine],” he said as he expressed concern over the safety of the shots.
Following his comments, the Medical Council used its powers under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 to make an ex parte application to the High Court for his suspension.
The hearing was heard in camera, in keeping with the legislative provision that the application can be heard “otherwise than in public” unless the court determines differently.
In playing down the severity of the virus last month, Dr Waters said questions remained as to why children did not die and that he did not know anyone who had died from it. He said postmortems should have been carried out on everyone whose death was linked to Covid-19.
He also confirmed he did not refer patients for Covid-19 tests.
“I have decided not to get involved with the whole thing from the beginning,” he said.
A Medical Council spokesman said it has written to “a number” of individual doctors directly, reminding them of their ethical duty on matters relating to Covid-19.
“There is also a number of matters being investigated by the council as part of a regulatory process.”
The Medical Council takes issues relating to doctors not following public health guidelines or spreading misinformation in relation to Covid-19 and vaccines very seriously, the spokesman said.
“Doctors must continue to advocate for their patients by actively promoting the public health guidance.”
The ethics guide governing doctors’ practice included a duty to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations relating to this practice, the spokesman said.
“This also includes ensuring doctors promote a culture of patient safety within the context of the wider health system. Doctors also have responsibilities when it comes to posting on social media.”
Health Service Executive chief executive Paul Reid last month suggested that healthcare workers who refused to take the vaccine could be removed from their posts.
He said everyone had a right to refuse a vaccine if they wished, but the Health and Safety Act allowed for workers to be removed if they were regarded as a threat to other people.