A video of the incident triggered anger on Chinese social media and was the latest in a series of complaints about the lockdown mandate in the city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province, the site of China's strictest lockdown since the early days of the pandemic.
In July last year, unvaccinated residents in parts of China have been banned from accessing public services, including in-patient departments of hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries and other public areas to boost vaccination rates.
A "frenzy of forced vaccinations" also began that month as President Xi Jinping set a target of fully vaccinating 1.1 billion people, or 80 percent of the population, by end of October.
In September last year, senior China researcher Yaqui Wang said setting population percentage targets "without clear protections for people’s rights opens the possibility of authorities abusing the quota to force vaccination jabs and this is exactly what has played out in recent months across the country."
She cited cases where the authorities didn't use physical force on unvaccinated netizens but relied on other "coercive tactics," such as cutting off welfare, retirement or health insurance benefits for anyone who refused vaccination, harassment through constant phone calls or frequent home visits, arbitrary detention and censorship by demanding the deletion of social media posts exposing cases of forced vaccination.
Currently, the Chinese government is persisting with a zero-COVID strategy ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in February.
A legal analysis on public health and private life under COVID-19 vaccination policies published by the Risk Management and Healthcare Policy states that "China prioritizes collective rights, such as health, over individual rights, such as privacy. However, the mandatory vaccination policies lack statutory authorization of local governments and will restrict Chinese citizens' autonomy, fundamental rights and freedoms and compromise their privacy."
Strict implementation of COVID-19 vaccine mandates has become a hot button issue across the world. (Related: Insurance companies and hospitals use personal data to deny services.)
Northeastern University experts say that refusing to administer treatment is highly unethical and violates a physician's duty of care, which can carry legal implications.
"As an emergency department doctor, you treat who is in front of you. To do so is a legal obligation and their vaccination status does not change that," said Robert Baginski, associate clinical professor and director of interdisciplinary affairs for the Department of Medical Services at Northeastern.
Timothy Hoff, professor of management, healthcare systems and health policy at Northeastern said: "In theory, doctors can dismiss patients who do not need urgent care because of vaccination status. But it still raises ethical questions. For example, a physician who wants to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may view taking on unvaccinated patients as a risk to their safety or the safety of their staff."
According to Baginski, a doctor would have to explain the reasons for refusing treatment and offer to connect the patient with an alternative provider. Otherwise, it could be a breach of duty of care doctrine.
Patricia Illingworth, a philosophy professor and an ethics expert at Northeastern, said: "If the reason a physician refused to treat a patient who is unvaccinated was simply to incentivize them to get the jab, then that would seem ethically problematic because it can erode trust in the [medical] profession."
"Vaccination status should not be a factor into who gets treatment and who doesn’t unless it’s to determine a patient's condition. It’s vital that health authorities continue to urge that," she added.
Watch the full video below about hospital refusals for unvaccinated.
This video is from the OnlyTruch4Me channel on Brighteon.com.
Follow Pandemic.news for more news related to the coronavirus pandemic.