A doctor in South Miami says she will no longer treat unvaccinated patients in person as COVID-19 cases remain high in Florida.
Linda Marraccini, MD, sent a letter to patients that said those who aren't vaccinated won't be allowed to book in-person appointments at her practice now that the FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for general use, according to NBC Miami.
"This is a public health emergency — the health of the public takes priority over the rights of any given individual in this situation," she wrote in the letter, which was obtained by NBC Miami.
"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," she wrote.
Marraccini said the policy is in the best interest of her other patients and doesn't violate the Hippocratic oath. Patients who are having chemotherapy or who have weak immune systems face higher risks of being infected with the coronavirus, she noted.
"It's not fair for people who are unvaccinated to harm other people," she told Newsweek on Saturday.
"The Hippocratic oath is very science-based," she said. "I am following the science. I'm applying this to the benefit of the sick."
Marraccini said her new policy goes into effect on Sept. 15, and she will continue to see unvaccinated patients virtually during the next month until they find another health care provider.
She said that the response to her decision has been "99.9% favorable" and that she will make exceptions if patients can't receive a shot due to hardships. Her office also provides the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"We're not going to leave them out there in the cold," she told Newsweek.
During the past month, COVID-19 cases have surged in Florida, reaching record-level highs of more than 20,000 cases per day. Cases began rising in the summer due to the more contagious Delta variant.
In late August, a group of doctors in South Florida urged people to get vaccinated, citing their exhaustion and frustration with unvaccinated patients who make up the large majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to Newsweek.
Other doctors have declined to treat unvaccinated patients in recent weeks. Jason Valentine, MD, a doctor in Mobile, AL, said he would no longer see unvaccinated patients as of Oct. 1, according to AL.com.
Marraccini urged people to become informed about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as their role in reducing the surge of cases in the state. The pandemic "did not have to go on this long," she said.
"Responsibility has to do with each individual," she told Newsweek. "This is a global health issue, and everyone owns part of that responsibility."
NBC Miami: "No Vax, No Visit: South Florida Doctor Won't Treat Unvaccinated Patients in Person."
Newsweek: "Florida Doctor Will No Longer Treat Unvaccinated in Person, Denies Violating Hippocratic Oath," "Dozens of Florida Doctors, Exhausted by Unvaccinated COVID-19 Patients, Beg People to Get Shot."
AL.com: "Alabama doctor says he won't treat unvaccinated people: 'COVID is miserable way to die.'"
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Cite this: Florida Doctor Won't Treat Unvaccinated Patients in Person - Medscape - Sep 07, 2021.