Doctors' group opposes resto perks for vaccinated individuals

·2 min read

A DOCTORS' group who advocated before the national government for the use of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 is opposing a recommendation by a group of restaurateurs to allow only vaccinated individuals to dine in restaurants, calling the plan "unscientific, discriminatory and segregationist."

“Any proposal advocating that the government should treat vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals differently goes against the constitutionally-protected right of Filipino citizens to equal opportunity and protection under the law regardless of race, ethnic origin, and personal and religious beliefs,” said Homer Lim, MD, President of Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph).

The Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (Resto PH) recently asked the government to allow more mobility for the vaccinated, including allowing them to dine in at establishments regardless of the prevailing quarantine level.

Lim said that segregation is both not only discriminatory but also unscientific, claiming that current medical data shows that vaccinated individuals can still spread COVID-19 and carry viral loads equivalent to unvaccinated individuals.

Lim quoted a report from the Guardian, a British newspaper, which recently reported a study by Oxford researchers which found that fully vaccinated adults can harbor virus levels as high as unvaccinated people if infected with the Delta variant.

The study compared results from about 2.6 million nose and throat swabs from more than 384,500 adults collected between December 2020 and mid-May 2021, against results from more than 811,600 test results from 358,983 adults between mid-May and August 2021, when the Delta variant became dominant in the United Kingdom.

“We cannot allow segregation policies to be used as a cudgel to beat down every Filipinos’ freedom of choice, specifically the right to make an informed decision on whether or not to receive Covid-19 vaccines,” Lim said.

Lim stressed that freedom of choice and informed decision-making are of utmost importance because current Covid-19 vaccines were approved only under an emergency use authorization without long-term clinical trials on side effects and adverse reactions.

CDCPh is among the groups asking the government to consider the use of the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.

The group endorsed the use of Ivermectin despite warnings made by various medical institutions, including the United States Center for Disease Control (US-CDC) and the Department of Health (DOH), that there is insufficient evidence that the anti-parasitic drug is effective against Covid-19.

Just a few months after the Covid-19 pandemic began, the same group also called upon the national government to lift all lockdowns across the country and advocated for the use of the controversial anti-viral drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis to prevent Covid-19 infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the use of HCQ as Covid-19 treatment as studies show that it has little to no effect in preventing illness, hospitalization or death from Covid-19. (JKV, PR)

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