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Home » California revokes Mary Kelly Sutton medical license for fake vaccine exemptions

California revokes Mary Kelly Sutton medical license for fake vaccine exemptions

Last updated on August 7th, 2023 at 12:22 pm

On 8 December 2021, the Medical Board of California provisionally revoked the medical license of Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton for issuing medical exemptions that “did not comply with the vaccine guidelines set forth by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Apparently, the attempted intimidation by America’s Frontline Doctors (neither frontline nor doctors) went nowhere, as the Medical Board of California will continue to do its job in protecting California’s children from doctors who push fake vaccine exemptions.

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The case against Mary Kelly Sutton

According to the Medical Board of California (MBC), Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton issued eight “medical exemptions,” that is, exemptions to vaccine requirements given to children for medical reasons, that were not in compliance with recommendations set forth by the ACIP and AAP. She acknowledged doing this.

She rejected the recommendations by ACIP and AAP by stating that:

  1. It was only advisory.
  2. The California legislature expanded the definition of medical exemptions (it had not).
  3. On the advice of the anti-vaccine group, Physicians for Informed Consent, that what she was doing was legal.

In other words, she had nothing, but the typical anti-vaccine rhetoric and false claims.

Here are some of the more egregious medical exemptions she issued for these eight children:

  • Patient 1. A 10-year-old child who had never been vaccinated. Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton wrote blanket exemptions based on “personal history of allergy, family history of suspected vaccine reaction, allergy, neurologic, and autoimmune disease.” She exempted the child from all 10 vaccinations required by the state of California for students of the child’s age.
  • Patient 2. Dr. Sutton issued a permanent medical exemption to a four-year-old due to a “personal history of allergy and neurologic vulnerability and family history of a genetic defect, neurologic disease, and allergy.” To me, that reads like Dr. Sutton used a bunch of random words together to justify a medical exemption. Seriously, could she even define “neurologic vulnerability” in scientific terms? I doubt it.
  • Patient 3. Dr. Sutton issued a permanent medical exemption to this 10-year-old child based on a “family history of autoimmune disease, allergy, neurologic disease, and vaccine reactions.” According to the MBC, the vaccine reaction included one sibling crying for a few days after receiving the vaccine.
  • Patient 4. Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton issued a permanent exemption to a 4-year-old child based on a “personal history of vaccine reaction and neurologic disease, and family history of neurologic disease, vaccine reaction, allergy, and autoimmune disease.” The vaccine reaction was a claim by a relative that a cousin contracted autism after one vaccination. Let me be clear once again, there are no links between vaccines and autism.

I could go on and on, but Dr. Sutton just used the same arguments for the medical exemptions that did not meet any standard set up by the science-based recommendations from the AAP and ACIP. I guess Dr. Sutton thought she was better than them.

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Expert witnesses

I just want to include the list of expert witnesses that Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton brought to defend her medical exemptions.

  • LeTrinh Hoang, DO. Dr. Hoang holds no board certifications and practices homeopathy, a quack therapy that has no basis in science or medicine. It’s just water. She is also affiliated with the anti-vaccine Physicians for Informed Consent.
  • Andrew M Zimmerman, MD. Dr. Zimmerman is actually board certified in neurology and pediatrics, but he supports the debunked links between vaccines and autism.
  • James Neuenschwander, MD. Dr. Neuenschwander is an “integrative specialist” (quackery) who had to pay a $2,500 fine for violating Michigan Public Health Code. He stated that ACIP recommendations are “irrelevant” to him. He doesn’t think children should receive the polio vaccine. And he believes unvaccinated children are more healthy than vaccinated ones. In other words, he rejects science for his “beliefs.”

Ironically, Dr. Sutton was called as an expert witness by Dr. Ken Stoller for his own hearing before the Medical Board of California after which his license was also revoked. Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote:

Dr. Sutton does have a relevant characteristic – she herself engaged in selling medical exemptions. In fact, Dr. Sutton has previously made a series of videos aimed at teaching families what to say to get an exemption. In other words, she has engaged in the same problematic conduct as Dr. Ken Stoller. No wonder she would like to see him exonerated. But she is still not a qualified expert for this kind of claim.


Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton decided to reject the science-based medical exemptions recommended by ACIP and the AAP to create her own version. And she pays a price for her actions.

Of course, her attorney, who has filed a number of anti-vaccine-based lawsuits, complained about the decision. Too bad, so sad.

Update 10 February 2022

On 7 January 2022, the license of Dr. Kelly Sutton, who sold fake medical exemptions from California’s school vaccine mandate and gave seminars on how to get a medical exemption, was formally revoked in California.

Update 1 April 2022

Dr. Sutton applied for reconsideration by the board, and the revocation was stayed until that issue was decided. Dr. Sutton’s petition for reconsideration was not acted on, and as the time expired, is seen as denied.

Update 5 August 2023 — Masschusetts

Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote the following about Dr. Sutton and Massachusetts:

On 13 July 2023, Massachusetts, too, revoked Dr. Sutton’s license. It is not unusual for states’ medical boards to follow other states’ decisions in cases like this, though it does not always happen.

The Board revoked Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton’s medical license after it found, in a Final Decision & Order, that Dr. Sutton “had been disciplined by the Medical Board of California for reasons substantially similar to those for which Massachusetts could impose discipline, to wit, for engaging in gross negligence on a particular occasion or negligence on repeated occasions when she issued immunization exemptions to eight children without completing appropriate examinations. Dr. Sutton, who practices family medicine and preventive medicine, has been licensed in the Commonwealth since December 3, 2015. She was previously licensed to practice medicine in several states.” Dr. Sutton is suing the Board in court, challenging the decision.

Michael Simpson

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