Doctors defend brutally frank vaccination campaign
Critically ill patients and corpses placed in coffins with the captions: He thought he had enough time or She doesn’t believe in vaccines – these are some of the drastic real-life images people can see in what the health minister says is a last ditch effort to get the message across. The photos taken in a Prague hospital left many people stunned and sparked a protest from the Rector of Prague Technical University Vojtěch Petráček who sent Health Minister Adam Vojtěch an open letter saying the campaign was unpleasant and unethical and should be abandoned before it causes people psychological damage.
Minister Vojtěch refused to do so, saying the campaign is realistic and can save lives. Many doctors took up his defense. Marek Orko Vácha is Head of the Department of Medical Ethics at the Faculty of Medicine, Charles University.
“None of the people in the photos can be identified – no faces are shown. Yes, the campaign is crude and even controversial. But we are in a dire situation and spreading the message that vaccines save lives is more important than anything else. We are at war with a virus and the situation is extremely serious – people need to know that. “
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch made a similar statement in defense of the campaign, saying “The Covid numbers have become numbers. We wanted to show the reality of what is happening in hospitals to those who are sitting in their comfort zone and failing to see that we are in the midst of the worst health crisis in over a century. The campaign can be raw, it can be brutal, but what you are seeing are real doctors and real patients. “
Jan Krajhanzl, psychologist at Masaryk University in Brno agrees that people need to see what is going on.
“The reality is what is happening in our hospitals, where medical staff face another critical period that will hit them and their families hard. The reality is that thousands more people will needlessly die and tens of thousands will lose their loved ones. So if someone runs across the deck of the Titanic and screams that the ship is sinking, are we going to criticize them for spoiling the good mood? I think we need to talk about the risks that we can still influence.
Although it is still too early to judge the effects of the campaign, there is fierce opposition to the inoculation in the eastern border regions. Mobile vaccination units dispatched to facilitate the process for residents say they are being thrown at them and are not even calling for support from local priests or pub owners.
Just over 6 million of the country’s 10.7 million inhabitants have completed their primary vaccination against Covid.