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Flu, COVID, RSV on the rise — beware the tripledemic

The USA, including California, faces a ‘tripledemic’ of seasonal flu, new COVID-19 variants, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). All three respiratory viruses, particularly harmful to seniors and children, can be prevented through vaccination. Despite this, many places are reporting low vaccination rates, especially among older people. The content highlights RSV’s severity and contagion, recent research into the virus, and the situation with the three diseases in California and other states.

AB2098

Lawsuit against California AB2098, which allows sanctions of doctors who pass false information

This article about a lawsuit against California’s new law, AB2098, was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively about vaccination’s social and legal policies in law journals. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On September 30, 2022, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB2098, a bill that tells the medical board that misinformation and disinformation given to a patient as treatment or advice is “unprofessional conduct” worthy of sanction.

As a reminder, misinformation about COVID-19 is a real problem in the pandemic, leading to low vaccination rates that increased deaths and harm, and people using fake treatments against COVID-19.

On October 4, 2022, the first lawsuit against AB2098 was filed, brought in the name of two doctors with a history of COVID-19 misinformation – including promoting unsupported treatment like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine and deterring people from vaccinating. The doctors are represented by attorneys from the conservative organization Liberty Justice Center. 

Although there are some doubts and uncertainties, the law should probably survive judicial review – and these doctors are likely typical of the kind of misinformer that made the law needed, and several of the claims they make are demonstrably untrue, which works in support of the law. 

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