Dr Andrew McIntyre was First Applicant in last year’s Doctors Against Mandates’ challenge against the Chief Health Officer’s mandates.

[Disclaimer: This is a personal story, the second of a series from doctors and other applicants explaining their perspectives. It is not medical advice or information published in the practice of medicine.]

My experience during the pandemic

A group of Health Professionals under the banner of “Doctors Against Mandates” have been challenging Queensland health vaccine mandates. How did I get here?

Like most things of significance it’s a long story. I could detail the evidence against Covid vaccine mandates being useful, which is overwhelming, but the question that I have and I am sure many wonder is why are most doctors accepting them?

There are many more opponents than you realize given the threat of deregistration by AHPRA, a threat that is not theoretical but has actually occurred when doctors try and raise concerns. A few have retired quietly, which is an option I could have taken, but I actually enjoy my work and do not wish to be pushed into decisions by unknowledgable public health officials and I have children whose future I feel a duty to defend and as well as a duty to defend my patients against harm.

Like most people the initial news of the pandemic appeared alarming and it felt like my time as a doctor had arrived, I had to prepare for war, a once in a lifetime challenge that had to be faced front on.  My response was to start learning about a subject that was emerging science and in a typical manner of someone used to doing deep dives into subjects I became focussed on the emerging data. Possibly a difference is that I had spent the previous decade learning about low carb nutrition, a subject that I had stumbled on by accident and it was so against my previous teaching that I felt I needed to be over the data in a way that I could defend my use of this dietary intervention in patients. This was something I had been doing for quite a few years and I had developed a network of people whose opinions I valued immensely. This network was primarily linked by twitter, but also included conferences and had provided me with links to the latest articles and analysis of emerging data. Many of these people had the same response to Covid-19 as I did, keep up with the emerging data and try and make sense of it.

The initial data revolved around risk factors for severe disease, treatment options and public health measures and I quickly found experienced epidemiologists who rejected lockdowns and discovered the pre-existing, recently reviewed, pandemic plans that appeared to be totally ignored in favour of untried severe lockdowns and masking. Within a short time repurposed drugs were being looked at with encouraging early data and I experienced the banning of Hydroxychloroquine by the Queensland government, before the data was in. At this point I sensed the response was not normal.

My initial thoughts on reports of Ivermectin being useful were very doubtful as I had used it as an anti-parasitic on many occasions, but saw that evidence, both lab based and clinical existed and I knew it was a very safe drug, so why not try it. Australia had no covid early on, but when it appeared  I did try it as prophylaxis in both staff and family, with no ill effects. Then, all of a sudden it was banned for use in covid for no rational reason.

My experience with low carb nutrition in my patients and via extensive reading of the literature made me concerned about the Public Health response even before Covid.  Low carb nutrition was simply ignored (or suppressed) and it appeared that there was an ideological preference for drug treatment and carbohydrate-based dietary guidelines despite clear evidence there was a better way. I was already lacking confidence with Public health and had personal knowledge of the persecution of Dr Garry Fettke, an orthopaedic surgeon in Tasmania, by AHPRA for “Inappropriately reversing a patients diabetes” using low carb nutrition!!

I had also had my own experience with AHPRA persecution over a justifiable deviation from a guideline, which resulted in a caution with no person ever having a discussion with me about the case, other than via legal letters. I subsequently went to the health ombudsman and this was reversed (after 5 years), again without a single personal discussion occurring. I also learnt the hard way that AHPRA were not seemingly interested in engaging in normal medical scientific and ethics discourse and the guideline obsession was out of control.

By the time the vaccines were deployed I had learnt a lot about them and was incredulous that firstly such novel technology was to be used and secondly that there were significant risks of failure, or worse outcomes as there had been no successful coronavirus vaccines ever, and previous attempts in animal models had resulted in worsening of outcomes.

At this time I was printing out articles to hand out to staff and monitoring the situation closely, but it seemed that many health professionals were doing no research and expecting the advice to be handed down from on high. This was something that went against my training, but I soon realised that younger graduates were guideline obsessed and did not feel confident to develop an opinion, not that they were actually reading anything. I am suspicious that Medical Education has been changed? This was exemplified by the AMA’s “Safe and effective” statements, an assertion that was evidence free. I promptly resigned from the AMA in protest but it seemed they did not care about losing membership fees and I wonder if they received money to support the government narrative, as loss of membership should have concerned them. I later participated in a Zoom with the State AMA president and it was clear they were also just following government advice with no evaluation of evidence themselves. This shocked me. In the past doctors would have wanted to check the evidence for themselves.

I personally have not seen a drug rep this century as I felt they were psychologically manipulative and distorted the facts, to push high priced drugs with questionable benefits. I was aware of the damages they had paid over this type of behaviour in the past and certainly did not trust them. I was also aware of the enormous bias in journals, as previous journal editors have stated, and the likely corruption of the Cochrane foundation.

In the end being trained in an era of minimal guidelines and an expectation of reading the scientific evidence for yourself and forming your own opinion is the primary reason I am where I am. The experience of Public Health ignoring evidence and AHPRA enforcing questionable guidelines was a critical warning to me that something was amiss. The subsequent government data about an alarming increase in “All Cause Mortality” and the clear failure of the vaccine to prevent infection or transmission is quite shocking, but not surprising. My initial thoughts about the vaccine rollout were “This is totally reckless but they will probably get away with it”. I was wrong, they did not get away with it, it’s an enormous disaster, not only did it fail, but by any reasonable evaluation of the evidence it’s causing enormous harm. The complete refusal of government to look into this alarming phenomenon sends shivers down my spine.

I have also look into the concerns about what underlies this crazy behaviour, but the scientific evidence is clear, it must be stopped. I have children, who remain unvaccinated at great cost to their careers and it is the generations to come that deserve this madness to be fought hard, which is what I am committed to do. I have no desire to live in a totalitarian state, which is what we are currently experiencing the early signs of.

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