The University of Vermont Medical Center today responded to inquiries about the hospital’s chief of critical care’s social media criticism of vaccine-refusing patients.
Dr. Gilman Allen, chief of critical care and a critical care specialist in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at UVMMC, wrote recently on Instagram:
“What is more entitled and privileged than refusing an effective vaccine because of your ‘God given right to decide what goes into your body,’ but then expect overworked and burned out healthcare providers to lay their lives on the line to intubate and prone you in the ICU, and spend tens of 1000s of dollars on [medications] as a last ditch effort to save you from a disease that you ‘don’t believe in”?!”
“Choosing not to vaccinate comes from a selfish point of privilege and entitlement,” Allen he wrote in a separate post.
The Instagram posts above were forwarded to Vermont Daily Chronicle by a reader and Vermont resident who commented, “like this makes me comforted to have my family under his care! And they wonder why we are worried we would get different care?”
David Chong, who also posted, is a critical care physician in New York City.
Vermont Daily Chronicle sent the first screen shot (at left) to UVMMC this morning and requested a comment. In response, UVMMC public relations official Annie Mackin responded:
“Health care workers across the UVM Health Network have been doing everything they can for two years to respond to the ever-changing challenges of COVID-19.
“Roughly 75% of the patients we treat in our ICUs for COVID-19-related illness are unvaccinated, and they sometimes stay for weeks or months as their health care team does everything possible to save their lives. Every patient who comes to a UVM Health Network facility receives high quality, compassionate care from our hardworking staff. They are tired, but they continue to do their part. We ask the public to do the same.
“We know our best hope of ending this crisis is vaccination. We know vaccination isn’t a silver bullet against COVID-19 infection, but it is the best protection we have against severe cases, and it’s the best way for people to stay out of the hospital and the ICU, reduce the pressure on our regional health care system and give our workforce the relief they deserve. People who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine are putting themselves, their loved ones, their friends, neighbors and health care workers at risk.
“COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in our region at pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other places. To find a vaccine appointment near you, go to http://www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233.”
UVMMC has been short-staffed during the recent Omicron-related spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalization.