A Florida doctor has announced that she will no longer treat patients in person if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, citing the risk of exposing immunocompromised patients and staff to the virus.
In a letter to her patients, Lina Marraccini, a primary care physician in South Miami, criticized patients for a “lack of selflessness.” In addition, Marraccini claims that the unvaccinated pose too great a risk to her staff.
“This is a public health emergency—the health of the public takes priority over the rights of any given individual in this situation,” NBC 6 reported.
“It appears that there is a lack of selflessness and concern for the burden on the health and well-being of our society from our encounters.”
According to the letter addressed to her patients, those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 15 will no longer be treated by the South Miami family practice physician. But exceptions can be made.
“If any of our patients have a valid medical reason for not having the vaccine or have their first shot by Sept. 15, please let us know,” she wrote.
The doctor also argued that the policy does not contradict her Hippocratic Oath, a set of ethical standards doctors swear to uphold regarding their commitments to their patients. She is still delivering telemedicine and assisting with referrals to other doctors and stated that she would make exceptions for anyone unable to receive vaccinations due to medical reasons.
“The Hippocratic Oath is very science-based. I am following the science. I’m applying this to the benefit of the sick.”
Under the Civil Rights Act, doctors are prohibited from refusing treatment based on a patient’s age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin. However, it is unclear whether a doctor can refuse to treat a patient based on vaccination status.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning vaccine passports earlier this year. Starting Sept. 16, companies, schools, and government agencies in Florida could face fines of up to $5,000 if they demand proof of vaccination.