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GMOA accused of making unfair attempts to vaccinate family members of affiliated doctors

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has allegedly made unfair attempts to vaccinate the family members of doctors affiliated to the Association with the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Sources from the medical fraternity who are close to The Morning confirmed this today (24).

Further, a series of messages allegedly from the GMOA has been shared over WhatsApp with instructions on the proceedings as quoted below.

All branch secretaries,

This the general instruction given to all.
1. The name list of doctors with pending vaccination ( western province- AZ 2nd dose) of their immediate family members has been sent to you.
2. The vaccination will take place tomorrow morning.
3. You are kindly requested to inform them immediately regarding their vaccination centre.
4. If vaccination center is stated as LRH the vaccination will take place on 25th June.
5. Precious vaccination card, NIC and the SLMC number of their doctor needs to be produced for vaccination.
6. Only those who have filled the Google form will be vaccinated tomorrow.
7. You can collect the details of doctors with unvaccinated immediate family members but have not filed the Google form for future use.

Thank you very much in advance for your corporation!

A message which alleges that the Association has also gone to the extent of establishing an online portal to collect information on the family members of doctors affiliated to the Association who are expecting to receive the vaccine has also been shared.

Vaccination of Doctors immediate family members.
==========================================

Online portal is reopened due to many requests.
This will be open for a limited time.

If anyone has missed earlier please fill it immediately.

If you have not filled the revised form (Second one) please fill this again.

Thank you.

https://forms.gle/2E7xYVNTtnPkvmVx9,”

Another message has also been shared with contact details of hotlines that are to facilitate any questions from those to be vaccinated.

Vaccination of AZ 2nd dose of immediate family members in Western Province will take place tomorrow except CMC area (LRH Vaccination Centre). Please contact your Branch Secretary or our hot lines for further details. 0706326360, 0706326361, 0706326362, 0706326363, 0706326364.

The Morning has also received a list of vaccination centres which is allegedly for the use of GMOA family members.

When The Morning contacted Office Bearer of the GMOA Dr W. M. S. Amarasingha for comment, he stated that the GMOA was the only association who requested the Health Ministry to vaccinate family members of all healthcare workers.

The data collection on family members of doctors attached to the GMOA was an initiative which was made in collaboration with ministry officials,” he said.

Dr. Amarasingha stated that while this data has been collected, vaccinations have not taken place as of yet.

He also added that even though the GMOA has requested that family members of all healthcare workers should be vaccinated, other unions have failed to participate in the data collection drive.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath confirmed to The Morning that no such vaccination of relatives, apart from public vaccination, has been done with the knowledge of the Health Ministry.

In response to this, the Association of Medical Specialists issued a statement yesterday (23), slamming these attempts by the government.

“The unfair prioritization of certain categories of frontline workers for vaccination at this critical juncture could give rise to serious disharmony among frontline staff battling the present pandemic,” the AMS stressed.

Highlighting that because immediate family members of ALL frontline workers are increasingly exposed presently due to the magnitude of the current wave, the AMS stated that  family members of ALL health care workers and other frontline workers should be offered the said vaccine without any delay or discrimination.

In order to ensure a safe and mentally comfortable environment to all the front line workers and their families at this critical juncture, the AMS has strongly urged the government to implement the following vaccination plan – 

 

  1. Provide a second dose of Covishield vaccine to all the health care workers, other front-line workers and their IMMEDIATE family members SOLELY based on “EXPOSURE RISK”. (eg: minor staff members working in a COVID ward have a higher risk of exposure than MO planning). We feel it is best following the recent directive of the Army commander to define immediate family members for such vaccination.

 

  1. Arrange the first dose of Sinopharm vaccine as an URGENT PRIORITY to all the front line workers (health and others) and their immediate family members island wide.

 

The AMS warned that if the government fails to rectify this anomaly which may result in severe disharmony and even unrest in front line health workers, they will resort to further collective action.