Doctors advising patients not to take the COVID-19 vaccine could be in breach of unethical behaviour and the Disaster Management Act, according to the South African Medical Association (SAMA).
The professional body is speaking out after reports surfaced that some health workers – including doctors – have been discouraging patients from getting the vaccine.
The association’s chairperson has called on doctors not to spread unverified information.
“You can have your own ideas and opinions, but we are now in a different situation,” said Dr Angelique Coetzee.
“We are under the Disaster Management Act and therefore the ethical obligations around the information you are giving out to your patients, especially around COVID-19 and vaccinations, must then follow the normal pathway of good, solid, scientific evidence before you give your own opinion.
“If you have an own opinion, you must base it on solid evidence. No evidence, then you cannot give your own opinion.”