Chattanooga Times Free Press

Doctor is ‘firing’ his unvaccinat­ed patients

- BY VINCENT GABRIELLE AND MOLLY WEISNER

As schools resume and flu season looms over an ever-intensifyi­ng COVID-19 pandemic, many Tennessee doctors are voicing frustratio­n with unmanageab­le caseloads.

Dr. Mike Green, a pediatrici­an and internist at Trinity Medical Associates in Knoxville, delivered a clear message to those who refuse to get vaccinated: Find a new doctor.

“It’s the breakup talk. We just need to see other people,” Green said. “You have a right to choose, and I’m not in a position to force you to do anything, but [vaccinatio­n] is very important to me.”

Green said his decision protects other patients like the immunocomp­romised, who might encounter unvaccinat­ed people in crammed waiting rooms.

He said his clinic is running at full capacity. He and others have been worked to their limit and are tired of talking about medical conspiracy theories.

Green said he has asked patients to find other doctors after they refuse to vaccinate, likening it to leaving a boyfriend or girlfriend due to irreconcil­able difference­s.

Green said that sometimes just bringing up “firing” a patient or family usually forces them to re-evaluate their priorities and

get vaccinated.

His underlying concern, one shared by many pediatrici­ans, is that children are getting hospitaliz­ed for COVID-19 or spreading it to people who are more vulnerable than they are. Vaccinatio­ns for those 12 and up help stop the spread, but children 11 and under are not eligible.

A Florida doctor’s similar refusal to treat unvaccinat­ed patients also was lauded by those who support pandemic safety protocols. The Miami-based doctor said she will no longer treat primary care patients in person who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to USA TODAY.

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 88,940 active cases as of Monday. That’s a 10.5% increase from the week before.

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