Paediatrician reveals he faked vaccination records for anti-vaxxer parents in suicide note

Danielle Zoellner

An Illinois paediatrician who committed suicide left behind a note saying he faked records and lied about vaccinating children, according to reports.

The note was written by Dr Van Koinis, 58, and detailed his regret for falsifying vaccination reports for his young patients, the Chicago Tribune reports. He led a practice in Evergreen Park near Chicago.

Investigators believe Dr Koinis was known in the community for helping parents forge their children's vaccination documents for school. Illinois statute requires all students to provide proof of vaccinations for preventable communicable disease.

"He was well known for being someone who was into homeopathic medicine, and from what we have determined, it was well known that people opposed to vaccination could go to him," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.

The doctor was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head in September.

His suicide note reportedly expressed regret from the doctor about his decision to forge vaccination documents, and revealed he committed the forgery over the last 10 years. The doctor was a licensed practitioner in Illinois starting in 1991, state records reveal.

"The length of time he mentioned and the fact that he was so focused on this as a regret of something he did and the fact he committed suicide led us to believe it was quite serious on many levels," Mr Dart said.

Dr Koinis' regret is also indicated by the note only mentioning the forged documents and nothing else.

"He was incredibly regretful for what he did and it was the only thing he mentioned in the suicide note. It was this and only this," Mr Dart told WBBM.

It is not believed Dr Koinis refused to vaccinate children with parents who wanted them done, but investigators encourage families who visited the doctor to check they received the proper immunisations with another physician. This check can be done through blood work.

An investigation is ongoing into the suspected conspiracy to falsify vaccination records, but authorities said no charges have been filed at this time.

Mr Dart urged parents to recognise the importance of their children receiving vaccinations prior to attending school.

"I don't care about your personal feelings on vaccinations, kids need them," Dart told the Chicago Tribune. "You can't waive them arbitrarily. You clearly can't forge documents or encourage them to be forged and pass them on, so we're moving along that track."

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