The South African Medical Association (SAMA) will be meeting with the HPCSA soon to discuss possible action against doctors who are discouraging their patients to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and are spreading misinformation about the jab.

SAMA Chair, Dr Angelique Coetzee told RSG on Friday that the Association has received complaints from patients who have been told by their doctors not to get vaccinated because of their personal views. In the interview, Dr Coetzee said doctors have an obligation to give their patients the facts and not confuse them with their personal opinions.

It comes as Netcare distanced itself from a video released on the website BitChute website in which acclaimed heart surgeon Dr Susan Vosloo (pictured above) expresses her personal anti- vaccination opinions. The video caused outrage in the medical fraternity with the Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital Prof Marc Mendelson, responding on Twitter, describing Prof Vosloo’s views as “dangerous” and commenting that he had “rarely heard such utter rubbish from a member of the medical establishment.”

Expressing Netcare’s profound disappointment and disbelief about the content of the video MD of Netcare’s Hospital Division, Jacques du Plessis said the sentiments expressed in the video are in complete contradiction to the unrelenting endeavours of Netcare, clinical colleagues, healthcare workers and others to try and curb the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The video further contradicts the views and endeavours of the South African National Department of Health as well as those of global institutions such as the World Health Organization. Given the grave implications of the comments made by Dr Vosloo and the potential deleterious impact on both national and global efforts to curb COVID-19, Netcare completely dissociates itself from Dr Vosloo’s anti-vaccination message,” Du Plessis said.

“Nevertheless, we have full regard for the fact that as a medical professional, Dr Vosloo is an independent practitioner and that as an individual she is fully entitled to her own views,” Du Plessis says.

“Netcare has treated more than 110 000 COVID positive patients throughout the group, of which more than 50 000 required hospitalisation in our hospitals alone. We have sadly lost 76 of our colleagues. As a healthcare organisation deeply committed to the health and wellbeing of all South Africans, we stand squarely behind the efforts to vaccinate as many individuals as soon as possible,” Du Plessis added.

In the video, Dr Vosloo claims among others that that the risk of the vaccine is worse that the risk of the virus and that COVID was brought in for the vaccine.

In the US, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has meanwhile announced that physicians and other healthcare professionals who spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are at risk for disciplinary action, including the suspension or revocation of their medical licenses.

In a strongly worded statement, the FSMB Board of Directors pointed out that due to their specialised knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not.

“They also have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus-driven for the betterment of public health,” the FSMB noted.