Statement against Discrimination and Prejudice by Healthcare and Legal Professionals

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A group of concerned healthcare and legal professionals contacted us in The Advertiser this week in relation to the ongoing discrimination currently being experienced in Ireland. The group are very concerned about the divisive nature of our government and media to promote such divide in our society and abuse of basic human rights. The following is their statement…

We the undersigned healthcare and legal professionals, vaccinated and unvaccinated in relation to Covid-19, condemn the current legal discrimination against unvaccinated persons as a shocking and degrading violation of human rights.

Resolution 2361 (2021) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe urges member States – including Ireland – to:“
…ensure…that no one is under political, social or other pressure to be vaccinated if they do not wish to do so;
ensure that no one is discriminated against for not having been vaccinated, due to possible health risks or not wanting to be vaccinated;
…use vaccination certificates only for their designated purpose of monitoring vaccine efficacy, potential side effects and adverse events…”

We call on the government to honour those principles. In addition, we strongly deplore the remarkably hostile scapegoating campaign against unvaccinated people by numerous politicians, media figures and others in the public eye. This disturbing campaign incites hatred and division. The scapegoating and legal discrimination are not only appalling but also absurd, in light of the following facts:

• People who are vaccinated against Covid-19 can and do also contract and transmit the virus.
• Ireland has the highest full vaccination rate in the EU/EEA, yet also has far more than the EU/EEA average case rate. Many countries with lower Covid vaccination rates have far lower case rates and do not impose similar Covid vaccine pass requirements.
• The majority of unvaccinated people in Ireland are young and extremely unlikely to require hospitalisation if they contract Covid-19.
• Hospitals in Ireland are under pressure because of inadequate health service capacity. OECD data indicates that, years before Covid-19 struck, Ireland already had the highest occupancy rate of acute care beds in the OECD – and one of the lower numbers of intensive care beds per 100,000 people in the OECD.
• Many people have entirely legitimate reasons for not taking a Covid-19 vaccine (or not getting a second dose) – including for medical or other reasons, for example because they have natural immunity due to prior infection. Recent research has found that natural immunity provides longer-lasting and stronger protection than vaccine-induced immunity.

For these reasons, the suggestion that unvaccinated people are the cause of the problem is not credible, and it is surprising that the public are expected to believe it.

There is a better path than unjust, divisive and irresponsible scapegoating. With this in mind, we urge the government to fulfil their duty to adequately resource the health service, in particular by improving health service capacity, which even now – over 20 months after the first recorded Covid-19 case in Ireland – still remains seriously inadequate.

We also strongly urge the media to ensure both sides of the debate on Covid-19 restrictions are fully and fairly heard, and to perform their vital duty of challenging those in authority, rather than facilitating efforts to deflect the blame for current difficulties away from persons in authority and onto members of the public.

List of Signatories:
• Eimear Bell Senior physiotherapist
• Liz Bergin Pharmacist
• Anne Bolger Clinical Nurse Specialist
• Martin Byrne Barrister-at-Law
• Martin Caddow RPN
• Vincent Carroll Medical Doctor
• Louise Carroll RM
• Anna Cogan Solicitor
• Monica Conway Integrative Therapist
• Orlagh Corcoran Registered Nurse
• Gerardine Costello Solicitor
• Aideen Cussen Registered Nurse
• Siobhan Daly Solicitor
• Louisa Deady Speech and Language Therapist
• Clare Dooley Chief Vascular Physiologist
• Ann-Marie Downey Dentist
• David Fagan Vascular Physiologist
• Alan Farrell Medical Doctor
• Martin Feeley Medical Doctor
• Kenneth C Fogarty Senior Counsel
• Noreen Harty RGN
• Jane Holland Medical Doctor
• Catherine Holmes Solicitor
• Iwona Krzyspiak Registered Nurse
• Siobhan Mallen RGN
• Anne McCloskey Medical Doctor
• Eleanor McGee Clinical Nurse Manager
• Maria Mhic Mheanmain RNID
• Fiona Milton HCA
• Annette Mitchell Vascular Physiologist
• Claire Moloney Psychologist
• Pat Morrissey Medical Doctor
• Sinead NiLionsigh Care Worker
• Marta Nowakowska HCA
• Karen O’Donovan RGN
• Karen O’Hanlon Doctor & Scientist
• Tracey O’Mahony Barrister-at-Law
• Audrey Pender RGN
• William Ralph Medical Doctor
• Natalie Robitzki RPN
• Andrew Rynne Medical Doctor
• Edmund Shanahan Barrister-at-Law
• Jacqueline A. Sharkey Solicitor
• Sabrina Sullivan Solicitor
• Geoffrey Sumner Barrister-at-Law
• Pauline Vahey Registered Nurse
• Grainne Vaughan Advanced Nurse Practitioner
• Mary Wall RGN
• Gerry Waters Medical Doctor
• Marcin Wesolowski HCA

“I would again like to thank this concerned group for providing me with this valuable statement and I hope it will alleviate some of the anxiousness by people who experience any of the current discrimination in this country.” Denis Walsh