American medical boards continue to support the sanctioning of physicians who are spreading COVID-19 vaccine falsehoods. I wish this weren’t necessary, but too many physicians are pushing all kinds of misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines.
I’m not one to dwell in some utopia where I expect every physician is an expert in science, but there seems to be more falsehoods being pushed about the COVID-19 vaccine than I’ve seen with other vaccines. And all that has done is lead the USA to nearly 700,000 deaths from the disease. I can’t actually put my mind around that number, but every physician should be fighting to end this pandemic, and it starts with vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccine falsehoods warning
The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) stated that physicians who intentionally spread misinformation, disinformation, and falsehoods about any COVID-19 vaccine could be disciplined by state medical boards and could have their licenses suspended or revoked.
The FSMB said:
Physicians who willfully generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license. Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore have a powerful platform in society, whether they recognize it or not.
They also have an ethical and professional responsibility to practice medicine in the best interests of their patients and must share information that is factual, scientifically grounded and consensus driven for the betterment of public health. Spreading inaccurate COVID-19 vaccine information contradicts that responsibility, threatens to further erode public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk.
Expertise matters, and board certified physicians have demonstrated that they have stayed current in their field. Spreading misinformation or falsehoods to the public during a time of a public health emergency goes against everything our boards and our community of board certified physicians stand for. The evidence that we have safe, effective and widely available vaccines against COVID-19 is overwhelming. We are particularly concerned about physicians who use their authority to denigrate vaccination at a time when vaccines continue to demonstrate excellent effectiveness against severe illness, hospitalization and death.
We also want all physicians certified by our boards to know that such unethical or unprofessional conduct may prompt their respective board to take action that could put their certification at risk. Spreading misinformation or falsehoods to the public during a time of a public health emergency goes against everything our boards and our community of board certified physicians stand for. The evidence that we have safe, effective and widely available vaccines against COVID-19 is overwhelming. We are particularly concerned about physicians who use their authority to denigrate vaccination.
Providing misinformation about a lethal disease is unethical, unprofessional and dangerous. In times of medical emergency, the community of expert physicians committed to science and evidence collectively shares a responsibility for giving the public the most accurate and timely health information available.
These boards certify roughly half of all of the physicians in the USA. These statements are powerful endorsements of the COVID-19 vaccines. These organizations are not profiting by bringing physicians into line with the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines – they are trying to protect lives.
With this pandemic continuing, mostly amongst the unvaccinated, physicians have an ethical and moral responsibility to make sure everyone who can get vaccinated gets vaccinated. Anti-vaccine physicians are pushing their COVID vaccine falsehoods on social media, in front of school boards, and directly to patients. All they are doing is assuring our country that the pandemic will continue. With how many more lives?
An American Medical Association survey shows that about 96% of US physicians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. What this tells me is that the COVID-19 vaccine falsehoods are coming from a tiny percentage of physicians.
But because social media is incapable of doing anything but false balance, the vaccine disinformation campaign by a tiny minority of physicians seems to be as loud as the pro-vaccine advocates, even though pro-vax physicians probably outnumber anti-vax ones 100 or even 200 to 1.
I hope these physician boards and state medical boards stand by their statements and begin to seriously disciplining these physicians. They are abrogating their ethics for whatever reason – fame, fortune, or who knows what else.
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