Open letter to the National Council of the Belgian Medical Association

Illustré par :

-March 23, 2021 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

At its meeting on January 23, 2021, the National Council of the Order of Physicians examined the ethical aspects of the Covid-19 vaccination program. 

The statement issued by the Council on this occasion was a serious challenge to us. 

We would like to express our fundamental reservations about the message you are sending to physicians under the guise of ethics, both in terms of content and form. 

On the interpretation of facts and policies to combat Covid-19. 

1 You welcome the actions of the Belgian authorities to limit the spread of the virus… which you consider insufficient to wipe out the virus. How can you envisage such a goal? Annihilating the virus is obviously unattainable, which you cannot ignore. 

2 You state in a peremptory tone that only the general vaccination campaign will achieve this chimerical objective. What allows you to dismiss any preventive approach aimed at reinforcing the natural immunity of each individual and thus weakening the impact of a virus that is certainly dangerous but that only kills people suffering from significant co-morbidities or who are very old? 

3 Your scenario for resumption of normal life involves a high percentage of vaccination of the population. We hope you are aware that this prerequisite means this: we will not live a normal life until the summer of 2022 (!) if everything goes as expected, which is far from assured. Do you think this is a realistic vision that is compatible with public health? Health is not just about Covid-19. The degradation of mental and moral health and the social damage must be taken into account much more than it is today. 

4 You say that the success of a vaccination campaign depends heavily on the confidence of the population and the medical profession in the proposed vaccines. You are right, but do you believe that this confidence is justified? Our opinion is that this is not the case, mainly because the current vaccines are experimental and have been designed in a hurry. This lack of hindsight carries the potential for serious side effects and even the appearance of recombinant viruses that are more dangerous than the initial virus. 

5 You accuse vaccine skeptics of negatively affecting public confidence in vaccination and thus causing an outbreak of disease. Could you tell us what diseases we are talking about? And how big is the outbreak? Please excuse our ignorance on this subject. In any case, there can be no confusion between the criticism of experimental, hastily designed vaccines and proven, long-used vaccines against serious diseases, such as polio. 

On your concept of ethics and your « warning » to physicians critical of anti-Covid vaccination. 

First, we are surprised by the figures you mention. It appears that 97% of medical professionals are willing to recommend the vaccine to their patients. We deduce that 3% of doctors can, by their critical attitude or their reluctance towards the vaccine, compromise a vaccination campaign orchestrated by the government, the « authoritative bodies » and the unanimous press. 

Either your numbers are incorrect, which we think is likely, or your concern is overblown and does not warrant a threatening reminder to those who do not share your belief in the virtues of the current Covid 19 vaccines. 

But let’s get to the ethics. 

We believe that your message has nothing to do with medical ethics. On the contrary, it reveals a conception of medicine that is authoritarian, dehumanized and ignorant of the medical practice that is to care for the soul and conscience. 

The physician must be, as you rightly say, a health advocate. This cannot, as you intend, be translated into a « vaccine advocate », in the head of a physician who is not convinced of the merits of the Covid 19 vaccination, especially if there is no confidence, which we believe is totally justified. 

Your threat to crack down firmly on the dissemination of information that does not fit with the current state of science also reveals a totalitarian conception of scientific knowledge that we do not hesitate to describe as scholarly obscurantism. 

Finally, we would like to ask you about your silence regarding the management of patients presenting the first symptoms of Covid-19 by their attending physician. 

The treatment recommended by « authoritative bodies » is currently limited to prescribing paracetamol; dietary supplements, such as vitamin D and zinc, are very useful, including for prevention, as is the use of drugs that have been shown to be effective in outpatient care and have few serious side effects, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. 

In this way, hospital overcrowding would be avoided and medical ethics, which require care, would be respected. 

Hoping for an answer from you. 

For the Grappe,
Pierre Stein, president and Paul Lannoye, founding member. 

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