The Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) has condemned attempts by the government to provide special privileges to the family members of doctors affiliated to a certain trade union with regard to administering the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
They pointed out that the unfair prioritization of certain categories of frontline workers for vaccination at this critical juncture could give rise to serious disharmony among frontline staff battling the present pandemic.
Highlighting that the AMS has witnessed manipulations and interferences by various powerful personnel (political and official) disappointing and offending ordinary general public about this programme, they noted that a powerful medical trade union has begun it's process of registering families of their membership to obtain the vaccine, especially the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine, on a preferential basis disregarding all other categories of frontline health workers.
They called on relevant authorities to strictly adhere to a scientific and equitable methodology in distributing the vaccine.
"Until we secure vaccines for all eligible citizens of this country, we are of the opinion that prioritization should only be based on a scientific assessment of "exposure risk” and certainly not the rank or position in the health sector" - AMS
Issuing a statement on Sunday (23), the AMS warned that all powerful trade unions in the public sector will be up in arms demanding equal privilege for their families resulting in absolute chaos if the authorities fail to adopt a rational approach to the vaccination process.
The statement by AMS further said;
"We reliably understand that certain categories of health care workers were granted special provision to vaccinate their immediate family members, especially the second dose of AstraZeneca (Covishield) vaccine.
One trade union has requested its members to apply through its website and hot lines for this vaccination. Further the Ministry of Health has not issued any general announcement to health staff to this effect.
Vaccination centers offered to the family members of the 'powerful' trade union
AMS feels that the above mentioned unfair prioritization of certain categories of frontline workers for vaccination at this critical juncture could give rise to serious disharmony among frontline staff battling the present pandemic.
It’s very clear that immediate family members of ALL frontline workers are increasingly exposed presently due to the magnitude of the current wave. Hence, family members of ALL health care workers and other frontline workers should be offered the said vaccine without any delay or discrimination.
Therefore, we would strongly suggest you to implement the following vaccination plan to ensure a safe and mentally comfortable environment to all the front line workers and their families at this critical juncture.
1. Provide a second dose of covishield vaccine to all the health care workers, other front-line workers and their IMMEDIATE family members SOLELY based on “EXPOSURE RISK”. (eg: minor staff members working in a COVID ward have a higher risk of exposure than MO planning). We feel it is best following the recent directive of the Army commander to define immediate family members such vaccination.
2. Arrange first dose of Sinopharm vaccine as a URGENT PRIORITY to all the front line workers (health and others) and their immediate family members island wide.
We would like to reiterate that scientifically sound vaccination policy is the need of the hour to avoid these unnecessary and unscientific interferences.
We have no hesitation in resorting to further collective action if you fail to rectify this anomaly which may result in severe disharmony and even unrest in front line health workers."