By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
A 34-year-old and a 30-year-old patient are currently hospitalised in the intensive care unit, and a few days ago, two men – a 35-year-old and a 41-year-old – died in Slovenia. More than four hundred people are currently hospitalised due to Covid-19, which is four times as many as in Denmark, which has almost three times the population,” the Medical Chamber of Slovenia responded to the statements of Tomaž Mastnak, who was a guest on the show Intervju (Interview) on national television, which is hosted by Ksenija Horvat. The Medical Chamber has asked the Listener and Viewer Ombudsman of RTV Slovenia to ensure that only real and true information is used by the media. We are publishing the Chamber’s letter in its entirety below.
“Although the epidemic is slowly disappearing from the headlines, due to the desire for a more normal life, it is unfortunately not over yet. What’s more, in recent days, it has been escalating, and the delta variant is causing more serious health problems for young people. A 34-year-old and a 30-year-old patient are currently hospitalised in the intensive care unit, and a few days ago, two men – a 35-year-old and a 41-year-old – died in Slovenia. More than four hundred people are currently hospitalised due to Covid-19, which is four times as many as in Denmark, which has almost three times the population. In Denmark, 85 percent of the people who are eligible for vaccination are currently vaccinated. The share of vaccinated adults also reaches more than 80 percent in other Western European countries, the EU Member States, and four-fifths of the issued doses are mRNA vaccines.
The mRNA vaccines have been used in tens of thousands of people in clinical trials. According to the World Health Organisation, more than six billion doses of the vaccine have already been used worldwide, with mRNA vaccines accounting for the largest share. mRNA vaccines do not enter the cell nucleus and have no contact with human genes. Despite their protective lipid shells in the vaccine, they break down in a few weeks into the so-called spike proteins, which are formed on the basis of the mRNA in the vaccine. What remains, just like with all of the other vaccines, is the immune response.
Doctors have never denied the side effects of the vaccines – on the contrary, we warn people about them and advise them when medical help is needed. We are also educating ourselves on how to deal with serious side effects. The international system for the detection of side effects of the vaccines enables us to detect and treat the side effects that occur per million vaccinated people, and we regularly inform and warn the professional and lay public about them. Trust and empathy are key at a time when the world is shaken by a seemingly endless epidemic and “infodemic” (a pandemic of false information).
In a recent episode of the show Intervju (Interview) on TV Slovenia, the guest (sociologist, researcher, lecturer, and publicist) expressed his views on the safety and effectiveness of vaccination, which he compared to genetic engineering. In a similar case that happened in the spring, the Listener and Viewer Ombudsman of RTV Slovenia already assessed that the conduct of one of the editorial offices was not appropriate when a guest that is not a medical doctor, does not have any medical knowledge, does not work in the field of providing healthcare, on the basis of scientific knowledge and professionally tested methods, was allowed to comment on the health aspect of the Covid-19 epidemic. The Listener and Viewer Ombudsman also noted that she believes an interview is not a suitable genre for presenting polemical and sceptical views on public health.
Regardless of the position of the Ombudsman at the time, the recent interview was conducted in the same manner against which the Ombudsman warned. Despite all of the efforts made during the epidemic to provide expert explanations on the dangers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, treatment options, and prevention, and especially the importance of vaccination, public distrust continues to grow, and attacks on doctors and other members of medical teams are still happening. The escalation of tensions in this long, too-long epidemic is also reflected in conflicts in seeking medical help. Instead of the virus – the actual culprit being blamed for the epidemic, it is often the people who selflessly work in the medical field to reduce the consequences of the epidemic that are portrayed as the main culprits. The main culprit is an invisible virus that is spreading among us, unnoticed. At the Medical Chamber of Slovenia, we believe that our society can help itself by connecting and ensuring that real and true information is provided instead of confusion, which is being created by “experts” who are not actual experts.
At a time of intense spreading of the virus, when the health and lives of many people are at stake, the public media have a special responsibility – to not confuse audiences with partial or scientifically unconfirmed information. Therefore, we call on the media to ensure that only real and true information is published – at this point, it is especially important that this is ensured for the information related to the importance of vaccination in limiting the epidemic.”