Guyana physicians warned against unethical advise regarding COVID-19 vaccines

Guyana’s Medical Council has warned that doctors who denigrate the COVID-19 vaccination drive are “unprofessional and dangerous” in addition to being “constitutionally unethical.”

“Any doctor who provides disinformation about the COVID-19 disease and vaccines contradicts our ethical and professional responsibilities. Expertise does matter, as facts outweigh opinions. Our physicians have stayed current in their fields of interest by submitting annual CMEs (continuing medical education) for re-licensure,” the Council said Thursday in a statement.

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The organization acknowledges doctors are held to a high degree of public trust due to their education. “However, any doctor who spreads disinformation, misinformation and falsehoods to the public during a time of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) goes against what we represent. COVID-19 is a potentially lethal illness,” the document further states.

“This grave medical emergency requires our community of physicians to continue their commitment to science, the art and practice of evidence-based medicine, and the provision of the very best, most accurate and timely information available to their patients and families,” the statement also noted.

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“The fact that we have safe, effective and widely available vaccines against COVID-19 is outstanding, given the many challenges faced,” it added.

Vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, or Pfizer have been applied nationwide.

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“Once people are vaccinated, environments will be safer, and we have to create a safe environment if we are to push back against the virus,” Guyana’s Health Minister Frank Anthony had said in an attempt to minimize the undesired message from Congressman Jermaine Figueira, who has advocated for the use of herbal therapies on people infected with COVID-19, despite any scientific evidence supporting it.

With no approved herbal medication for COVID-19, authorities have warned that self-treatment is not safe.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a PHEIC in January 2020.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has called for the administering of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine to be suspended, claiming that it could be fake. It is the same vaccine that he himself had been inoculated with.

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Neither Figueira nor Harmon are registered medical practitioners.

The Medical Council of Guyana also said it was in favor of disciplinary action against any “certified doctor” who spreads disinformation about the COVID-19 disease and vaccines.

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“We have all sworn to uphold the Hippocratic Oath to ‘do no harm,’ and as such we should not promulgate treatments that are demonstrably ineffective and harmful,” the medical guild said as it praised all the “good work” to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana.

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