Dr. Keith Roach answers medical questions in his “To Your Health” column in the Herald Tribune.

Question- Dear Dr. Roach:  At a recent appointment I discovered that my Nurse Practitioner (about 45 years old) doesn’t plan to get a covid vaccination as he says it’s unsafe and that all of us (vaccinated ones) are guinea pigs. I tried to argue, but he was the one holding the needle!

He works for a very prominent orthopedic surgeon here in town, and I think most patients would be dismayed to learn of this position. As patients, do we have the right to know if our medical team is unvaccinated? Other than change doctors, how should we deal with this?

Answer:  Let me first be clear. The medical consensus is absolutely evident that the available Covid-19 vaccines are very safe and very effective preventing infections, death, and hospitalization from Covid-19.  While it is dismaying to hear of health professionals espouse a contrary view, the available science shows that the vaccine is safe and effective.

As of the time of this writing, medical professionals are not required to be vaccinated. However, as a patient you have the right to expect a safe encounter with your medical team.  In my opinion, medical professionals with face-to-face contact with patients are ethically obligated to get the Covid-19 vaccine unless they have a medical reason, they are unable to do so.

Medical personnel have a right to privacy. I do not think you can demand to know whether your health care personnel are vaccinated.

However, they are required to use appropriate protective equipment (including masks and sometimes face shields) to protect you from them, which is much more important if the provider is unvaccinated.

In the case you mention, I think the orthopedic surgeon for whom the Nurse Practitioner works for should know the wrong, unethical, and unscientific advice the nurse practitioner is giving his patients.