The Bahamas Medical Council said yesterday doctors who spread false information about COVID-19 vaccines are both unethical and dangerous, and called for them to face disciplinary action.
“Medicine is a noble and respected profession,” the council said in a statement.
“We are all held accountable for our decisions and actions.
“Any doctor who provides disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine contradicts our ethical and professional responsibilities. Expertise does matter, as facts outweigh opinions.
“Our physicians have stayed current in their fields by presenting annual CMEs for relicensure.
“However, any doctor who spreads disinformation, misinformation and falsehoods to the public during a time of public health emergency and international concern goes against what we stand for.
“COVID-19 is a lethal disease.
“The fact that we have safe, effective and widely available vaccines against COVID-19 is outstanding, especially having been developed in such a short period of time.
“Physicians who use their position of authority to denigrate vaccination at a time when vaccines continue to demonstrate excellent effectiveness against severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death are not only constitutionally unethical but also unprofessional and dangerous.
“The Bahamas Medical Council is a member of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities, and we support the position taken by the Federation of State Medical Boards that proposes to take disciplinary action against any certified doctor who spreads disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine.”
A surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths — driven by the more infectious delta variant — has brought the healthcare system in The Bahamas to a point of crisis, with healthcare workers saying major facilities are short-staffed, out of space and dealing with supply shortages.
As of Friday, 170,946 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the start of the vaccine program in March. These included 23,745 doses in Grand Bahama and 20,418 in the Family Islands.
However, vaccine hesitancy has remained a pressing issue in increasing the vaccination rate.
The Bahamas Medical Council called for a commitment to science and “evidence-based medicine”.
“We have all sworn the Hippocratic oath to ‘do no harm’ and as such we should not promulgate treatments that are demonstrably ineffective and harmful.”
The statement added, “During this time of dire medical emergency, we ask our community of physicians to continue their commitment to science, the art and practice of evidence-based medicine, and to provide the very best, most accurate and timely information available to their patients and families who are in their care.”