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Our View: There are lessons all round from fake vax card scandal

Photo: Christos Theodorides

It seems that more cases are emerging about doctors selling or providing fake vaccine cards to their patients as a means to get around the SafePass requirements.

There could be dozens of doctors who have done this either for a few of their patients or as a cash-cow, in which case the number of people who benefitted could run into the hundreds. That’s hundreds of people circulating without feeling the need to get tested.

It would be easy to say, ‘this is Cyprus’ but it’s happening in other countries as well, most notably Russia where, according to a recent RT investigation people can get a fake card for $25 or get on the system for $180.

People nearly always find a way to get around the law, and fake IDs are nothing new. What has shocked people is that the enablers this time are not underworld figures with sophisticated computer programmes, but doctors gaming the system during an ongoing pandemic.

It should be irrelevant how many people go into a doctor’s office and ask to pretend they’ve been vaccinated, the doctor has an obligation, whether they believe the decrees are unjust or not, to tell people they will not help them break the law.

The government is partly to blame, not only for backing into a corner the people who do not want to get vaccinated but are being coerced into it either financially or at risk of losing their jobs, but also due to the ministry’s haste to vaccinate by outsourcing the AstraZeneca jab to the private sector.

Could they not see this coming? It’s rather difficult to believe they were so naive as to have that much faith in the medical community, or indeed in human nature. If they had held on to control of the vaccination programme, this particular twist might have been avoided. The full scale of it is as yet unknown. Maybe this will be a lesson to them as well.

And as for the people who availed of this, all they have done, is not only endanger lives by pretending to be vaccinated but this will force the government to implement even tighter controls over their lives, and everyone else’s.

This scandal has also brought to the fore an issue that has plagued the Cyprus Medical Association (Cyma) for a long time – the accountability of its members.

We’ve all read about the cases of a doctor convicted of sexual harassment who was still allowed to practice and is now facing two more sexual harassment suits slated for court later this year. Cyma did nothing to discipline this doctor when clearly he should have been struck off after his conviction.

Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides has said that amendments are needed to the law to allow for stricter handling of disciplinary issues concerning doctors.

It’s unacceptable that it’s taken this long to rectify this injustice. It remains to be seen however whether the reaction to the fake vax cards is just more of the same blather that follows every new scandal.

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