The Victorian President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a statement suggesting that Australians who do not wish to take Covid vaccines should opt-out of the public health system and ‘let nature run its course’.
“A whole lot of these people are passionate disbelievers that the virus even exists. And they should notify their nearest and dearest and ensure there’s an advanced care directive that says, ‘If I am diagnosed with this disease caused by a virus that I don’t believe exists, I will not disturb the public hospital system, and I’ll let nature run its course’,” said Dr Roderick McRae, Victoria President of the AMA.
McRae made the suggestion in relation to what he calls ‘Covid-deniers’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’ who might catch Covid when Victoria opens up from lockdown.
The majority of those refusing Covid vaccination self-identify as having taken other vaccines in their lives and are not part of the traditional ‘anti-vax’ movement. Others wish to wait for a different brand of vaccine such as Novavax due in Australia at the end of 2021. Novavax arrives boasting a higher efficiency rate than mRNA competitors and a stronger safety record.
Regardless of a person’s philosophy toward vaccination, Australian citizens are entitled to healthcare under the Medicare system which is built into taxation as a levy of 2% on taxable income.
Currently, all eligible Australians pay for vaccines and Covid testing via public money – even those who have opted not to make use of these pandemic measures.
The AMA were founded in 1962 as a professional association for doctors and medical students divided into state branches. One of their stated purposes is to ‘work with governments to maintain and increase the provision of world-class medical care to all Australians’ in addition to ‘promoting and advancing ethical behaviour by the medical profession’.
McRae has defended his position of encouraging Australians to deny themselves lifesaving medical treatment by saying that the public health system is ‘fatigued’ from extended lockdown periods and previous outbreaks. The Victorian government, however, remains confident that the health system will be able to cope once Victoria opens.
There is a backlog of elective surgery to process after Victoria cancelled most operations during Covid. McRae said that it isn’t fair to make them wait longer when they ‘did the right thing’ getting vaccinated.
“So these patients continue to suffer some pain or disability for a longer period of time, and they’re often patients who’ve been double vaccinated, they’re elderly, and they’ve done everything right, but their knee replacement is being delayed and the public hospital waiting lists are growing.
“We’re all juggling everything the best we can to avoid and prevent deaths. We know as we reopen it’s the unvaccinated who are going to get Covid, and they are going to get great hospital treatment with many new experimental drugs, even though they think the vaccine is ‘experimental’.”
Patient choice has always been at the forefront of Australian medicine. It is common for patients and doctors to decline one treatment in favour of another.
McRae also backed Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to keep the unvaccinated excluded from society until at least mid-way through 2022.
“Look, I think the mentality in Victoria is to take it slowly and sensibly. So, broadly speaking, there will be good community support. I guess the unvaccinated aren’t going to be thrilled by that, but they’ve had a year and a half of opportunity to digest all of the information that’s out there and get vaccinated,” said McRae, on Today.