Health Ministry steps in to defend four doctors

Health Ministry steps in to defend four doctors

Prof Dr Yong Poovorawan, chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, shows a syringe of a Covid-19 vaccine when inoculation to contain the virus started in the country at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province on Feb 28. (Government House photo)
Prof Dr Yong Poovorawan, chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, shows a syringe of a Covid-19 vaccine when inoculation to contain the virus started in the country at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province on Feb 28. (Government House photo)

The Public Health Ministry has called on members of the public to give fair treatment to four senior doctors who were strongly criticised on social media for their alleged involvement in the selection of vaccines.

The ministry on Tuesday issued a statement saying that the four under-fire doctors have worked tirelessly to fight Covid-19 and were never involved in ministry decisions to buy Covid-19 vaccines.

"These medical advisers only gave advice to the ministry on fighting the spread of Covid-19. They should be respected by the public. They have greatly contributed to helping the ministry [control the outbreak]," said Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary at the public health ministry.

Dr Kiattiphum said the four doctors are Yong Poovorawan, chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University; Tawee Chotpitayasunondh, an expert on the national committee on communicable disease; Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital and Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit, director of the Siriraj Institute of Clinical Research.

Dr Kiattiphum said he felt uneasy when he heard some people had harshly criticised these doctors and it was possible that such unconstructive criticism would have an impact on their daily life and work.

He said it was necessary for the ministry to issue a statement to protect their reputations.

"They are also medical academics who can express any comments or suggestions freely. They have never been involved with the ministry's buying of [Covid-19] vaccines or any other medical tools. Furthermore, we appreciate their dedication in helping the country," he said.

Those criticising the four physicians believed the doctors were behind the ministry's decision to bring in a large quantity of Sinovac, which has been said to have low efficacy against the Delta variant.

Meanwhile, a source at the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said it will shortly provide 1.25 more million doses of vaccine to Bangkok.

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