Kildare GP linked illness to wearing facemask, High Court told

Kildare Nationalist

A Co Kildare GP who was suspended by the Medical Council after he failed to refer patients for Covid-19 tests is alleged to have told a patient with chest complaints that his symptoms were caused by his facemask, a High Court judgment shows.

Last month Ms Justice Mary Irvine granted an application by the Medical Council to suspend Dr Gerard Waters, a GP at the Whitethorn Clinic in Celbridge, following allegations surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine and adherence to public health measures.

The High Court published its judgment in full on Thursday following a further application by the Medical Council.

The judgment shows Dr Waters refused to administer Covid-19 vaccines on the basis he was a “conscientious objector”, but that he did not take steps to refer patients to other doctors. . . continue reading

GP suspended by Medical Council over refusal to give Covid-19 vaccine

Gerard Waters of Celbridge a ‘conscientious objector’ who opposes jab and test referral

The Irish Times

Paul Cullen

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. . . continue reading

A Source of Hope Yet a Test of Faith; Can Health Practitioners Conscientiously Object to the COVID-19 Vaccines?

Lexology

Barry Wilson, William Harris

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations is presenting many difficulties and issues including for health practitioners who have a conscientious objection to the vaccination or administering it on the basis of personal beliefs.

Religious views

One issue that is not unique to COVID-19 vaccinations is their usage of cell lines from aborted foetuses. Australia is deploying the Pfizer and AstraZenca vaccines with the latter developed with the assistance of foetal cell lines. Notably, these cell lines are not the ‘original’ cell lines from the aborted foetuses but are genetically modified cells and the foetal cells used in developing the vaccine are reportedly not present in the final product. . . continue reading

Registered health practitioners and students: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

News Release

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and National Boards

The National Boards and Ahpra have published a joint statement today to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them in giving, receiving and advising on and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Key points

  • A joint position statement was published today about National Boards’ expectations of registered health practitioners and students in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Registered health practitioners have led the remarkable public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, and we commend them for this sustained public health response.
  • As the national vaccination program gets underway, registered health practitioners and students remain critical to this success by:
    • being vaccinated against COVID-19 unless medically contraindicated
    • being appropriately qualified and trained to administer COVID-19 vaccines if authorised, and
    • providing accurate information and advice about COVID-19 vaccination including in social media and advertising.

The National Boards and Ahpra have published a joint statement today to help registered health practitioners and students understand what’s expected of them in giving, receiving and advising on and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Co-chair of the Forum of NRAS Chairs and Pharmacy Board Chair, Mr Brett Simmonds, said all registered practitioners have a key role to play by ensuring they provide accurate, evidence-based information to patients about COVID-19 vaccines.

‘National Boards support the vaccine program and encourage all registered health practitioners to get vaccinated unless medically contraindicated.

‘The codes of conduct for each of the registered health professions explain the public health obligations of registered health practitioners, including participating in efforts to promote the health of the community and meeting obligations on disease prevention,’ Mr Simmonds said.

‘There is no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional health practice, and any promotion of anti-vaccination claims including on social media, and advertising may be subject to regulatory action.’

Ahpra CEO, Mr Martin Fletcher, said it’s important that as part of the national response to the pandemic, Australia’s 800,000 registered practitioners and 193,800 students are aware of what is expected of them.

‘If you’re a registered health practitioner or student, the best thing to do is to read our joint statement. It explains the National Boards’ expectations of registered health practitioners about receiving, administering and sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines. It’s important you understand these expectations so that patients and communities are best protected against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.’

The National Boards and Ahpra also acknowledge the exceptional leadership role played by many health practitioners in the public health response to COVID-19.

‘We thank Australia’s hardworking public health leaders who have provided remarkable leadership to protect the Australian community and continue to be key to our national COVID-19 defence,’ Mr Fletcher said.

As part of the national vaccine rollout program, practitioners authorised to administer COVID-19 vaccines must complete specific COVID-19 vaccine training, as required by Australian, and State and Territory Governments. Training in the handling and administration of COVID-19 vaccines protects the public by supporting the vaccination program to be rolled out safely.

All practitioners, including students on placement, must comply with local employer, health service or health department policies, procedures and guidelines on COVID-19 vaccinations.

Concerns about the conduct or practice of a health practitioner can be reported on the Ahpra concerns submission portal. National Boards will consider whether the practitioner has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously.

For media queries, please call (03) 8708 9200.

More information

Read the joint statement 

Joint Statement on Vaccines and Conscience Protection

News Release

Catholic Medical Association

Philadelphia, PA- March 2, 2021- It has been over a year since the first diagnosis of COVID-19 in the United States. Due to this pandemic’s effects, our society has experienced limitations in personal freedoms to a level we have never known. Social interactions and work environments have been changed by social distancing, masks, hospital and nursing home visitation restrictions and working from home. Freedom of movement about our communities and the nation has been limited by “stay-at-home orders” and mass travel restrictions. The availability of vaccines provides a sliver of hope but also raises many questions. Issues our society must address include prioritizing equitable vaccine distribution and the potential for coercive mandates on vaccine use

Government agencies and other organizations are responsible for developing strategies for efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines.

The highest priority is the vaccination of those at greatest medical risk and those directly involved in the care of the sick.  Once this has been accomplished, distribution can be directed toward those at lesser risk of serious disease.  Attention should also be given to making vaccines available to smaller independent hospitals and clinics serving in underserved and rural areas where the vaccines to date have been less available.  

Governing authorities must respect an individual’s right to accept or decline a vaccine.

There is no justifiable moral obligation to accept vaccination.  If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable. An individual’s decision to be vaccinated will also depend upon their personal assessment of the medical risks, a choice that should be respected. The decision not to be vaccinated must be accompanied by a commitment to take necessary precautions to lessen disease transmission.

Finally, the protection of First Amendment rights is imperative.

It is fundamental that the right of individual conscience be preserved. Coerced vaccination would irreparably harm Constitutional rights and the patient-physician relationship. Conscience is an individual belief influenced by many factors such as faith, culture, family, and reason. Each individual makes a conscientious decision in any given situation. Respect for conscience rights is always of primary importance.

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged our nation for over a year. It has brought to light new challenges regarding disease management as well as threats to individual liberties. While the logistical challenges alone are significant, we must not ignore the ethical concerns regarding vaccine manufacturing, distribution and administration. While the pandemic remains a significant public health crisis, the individual rights of American citizens also remains of paramount importance. The guarantee of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” includes the right to make individual health care decisions while  taking into account our responsibility for the common good.

The organizations supporting this statement can be contacted through their websites:

American College of Pediatricians – acpeds.org

Catholic Medical Associations – cathmed.org

Christian Medical and Dental Association – cmda.org

National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. – nacn-usa.org