A Co Limerick doctor, who has declined to administer Covid-19 vaccines to his patients, says he is prepared to go to court to fight any potential moves by the Health Service Executive to remove him as a general practitioner.
Dr Pat Morrissey, Adare Medical Centre, says he does not support the Government's lockdown measures, nor the national vaccination programme against Covid-19, because, he argues, the vaccines that are currently available are "untested, unlicensed, experimental".
Dr Morrissey says he is “not against vaccines” but he has decided not to receive the vaccine nor will he personally administer it to patients, until there is strong evidence that it poses no risks to health in the long term.
His patients can have the vaccine at his clinic in Adare but he will not personally inject them: “I’m not refusing vaccinations to anyone but I’m going to make sure that they are fully consented and that they are aware of the true status of these therapies that are being provided.”
Last October, he was removed by the board of Shannondoc – the midwest’s out-of-hours GP service – after he sharply criticised the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) restrictions at a Covid-19 protest rally in Dublin.
However, in defiance of HSE regulations, he continues to prescribe anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine – to non-seriously ill Covid-patients only.
Last October, the HSE stated the drug had been “removed from clinical recommendations due to evidence indicating a lack of benefit in patients hospitalised with Covid-19”.
He prescribes hydroxychloroquine with zinc, other vitamins, and has recently begun offering another drug, ivermectin – approved in the US to treat parasitic worms – after he connected with a New York-based doctor, who has championed its use against Covid, despite health experts warning there is no clear evidence it is a proven or safe treatment against the virus.
“I strongly believe that the therapeutics that I am currently using are a much better alternative than the vaccines,” Dr Morrissey said.
Over 300 Covid patients have attended his clinic and he has “successfully treated a number of them” without vaccines, he added.
‘Threat to livelihood’
He says he sees recent comments by HSE chief executive Paul Reid, that healthcare workers who refuse to take the Covid-19 vaccine may be removed from their posts or redeployed or reassigned, as "a threat to my livelihood".
“I have a threat against me and my job here now because of what Paul Reid said last week but I will challenge this in the courts.”
He says the present crop of Covid vaccines “may yield some benefit, with further time”, but, until he has satisfied himself they are safe, he will not take it. “I’m going to see how things evolve, but I’m going to politely decline [for now].”
A HSE spokeswoman said: "Participation in vaccination programmes in Ireland is not mandatory. Should a person change their mind, vaccination can be made available to them.
“We are engaging with the staff panel of trade unions with regard to how best to deal with circumstances where staff refuse to get vaccinated, and such issues will be kept under ongoing monitoring and assessment.”