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A US medic in Alabama is refusing to see patients who have not had a coronavirus vaccine, claiming the move will boost take-up rates among his patients.
Jason Valentine posted a photo on Facebook of him pointing to a sign declaring his new credo, which reads: “Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against Covid-19.”
The physician works at Diagnostic and Medical Clinic Infirmary Health in Mobile, Alabama, and his decision was prompted by the meagre vaccine take-up levels in the state, where anti-vaccine propaganda abounds.
In the Facebook post, which has since been made private, Alabaman news site AL.com reported that Dr Valentine had censured those spreading misinformation, writing there were “no conspiracy theories, no excuses”.
While his vaccine diktat will leave many feeling uncomfortable, the medic revealed that since posting the photo, three people had asked him where they can get a vaccine.
To those who have questioned the ethics of a doctor who is effectively choosing who he will treat, Dr Valentine wrote: "Covid is a miserable way to die and I can’t watch [people] die like that.”
The fact Dr Valentibne is taking such an extreme position shows the challenges faced by Alabaman authorities in persuading its population to get the jab, despite Covid hospital admissions being at near record levels in the state.
Last month, state governor Kay Ivey placed responsibility for the surge firmly at the door of the unvaccinated, telling Reuters "it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks".
Dr Valentine and Ms Ivey will want to avoid cases like that of Christy Carpenter, whose 28-year-old son Curt died of the virus. In July, she told The Post that “it took watching my son die and me suffering the effects of Covid for us to realise we need the vaccine”.
On Wednesday, Alabama reported 4,465 new cases, increasing its seven-day average to 3,728, according to data from the same newspaper.