A US doctor fed up with low COVID-19 vaccination rates has vowed not to treat unvaccinated patients.
Alabama general practitioner Jason Valentine, from Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, says he can no longer watch people die from the virus.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, the experienced doctor posted a photo of himself in front of a sign on his office door.
“Effective Oct. 1, 2021, Dr Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19,” the sign read.
Valentine also reportedly posted the contents of a letter he intended to send his patients.
“We do not yet have any great treatments for severe disease, but we do have great prevention with vaccines,” he said, according to local publication AL.com.
“Unfortunately, many have declined to take the vaccine, and some end up severely ill or dead.
“I cannot and will not force anyone to take the vaccine, but I also cannot continue to watch my patients suffer and die from an eminently preventable disease.”
He also indicated he was “happy” for his patients to see other physicians.
In another comment, he said he told patients who had questioned the police, “COVID is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch them die like that”.
He also reportedly said three patients who saw the post subsequently decided to get vaccinated.
Alabama, a state with one of the US’ worst COVID vaccination rates, has run out of intensive care hospital beds.
“We are seeing rates of folks in Alabama hospitals that’s really increasing as fast as we could imagine,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said.
“As of yesterday, we had just under 2800 patients in the hospital.
“The number of ICU beds we have available in Alabama is zero. We do not have any place for additional ICU patients in our state
“We have more patients receiving critical care than we have critical care beds.”
Harris said there had been a “bump” in vaccination rates.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve been averaging somewhere between 14,000 and 16,000 vaccine shots per day. About two-thirds are people getting their first shot.
“That’s definitely a lot better than where we were four or five weeks ago, when we were seeing 4000 or 5000 shots (a day).”