TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/WTVJ) — A Florida doctor is refusing to treat patients in-person unless they get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“When it comes to the safety of others. When it comes to the fact that it’s a global health problem and community health problem, at this point I really say that this is where it draws the line in the sand for me,” Dr. Linda Marraccini, a family practice physician, told NBC 6.
Marraccini recently sent a letter to patients saying she will no longer continue seeing those who are not vaccinated by Sept. 15. She told the news station her decision was based on science, not politics.
“There’s been millions of deaths globally so that’s not something to ignore. People are getting to where everybody knows somebody that died from COVID. This is a problem that really everyone needs to help out with and it’s affecting our collective communal health,” Marraccini said.
According to Marraccini, the move does not violate the Hippocratic Oath, the oath of ethics historically taken by physicians, because she is still using telemedicine, which allows her to communicate with patients, and can refer them to other doctors.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this year that bans vaccine passports. The Florida Department of Health said it will begin issuing fines for businesses that require customers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, but it’s unclear if that would apply to Marraccini’s clinic.
“I don’t believe you can treat a medical clinic the same way you can a business. But I also think that she lays something very clear that will probably impede the states ability to fine any business. She lays out in a medical way how exactly she wants to protect her staff and she specifically states that no medical professional has found many people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. She even says that the antibody treatment is not a substitute for vaccination,” said Juan Carlos Planos, an attorney.
Marraccini told NBC 6 about 15% of her patients were hesitant about getting the vaccine. She gave them a month to figure out a plan.