In Focus

California doctors to lose licenses for spreading misinformation about COVID-19

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The CDC data points out that the spread of false information and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has weakened public confidence and placed lives at serious risk

Doctors who were found spreading false information about COVID-19 could lose their license to practice medicine in California for “unprofessional conduct” according to a bill passed by the California state’s legislature this week.

Section 1 of the bill says the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, or COVID-19, has claimed over 6,000,000 lives worldwide, including nearly 90,000 Californians.

The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that unvaccinated individuals are at risk of dying from COVID-19 which is 11 times greater than those who are fully vaccinated, the bill reads.

It says the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines have been confirmed through evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the vaccines continue to undergo intensive safety monitoring by the CDC.

The data points out that the spread of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines has weakened public confidence and placed lives at serious risk.

“Major news outlets have reported that some of the most dangerous propagators of inaccurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines are licensed health care professionals,” the bill reads,” the bill reads. “The Federation of State Medical Boards has released a statement warning that physicians who engage in the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation risk losing their medical license, and that physicians have a duty to provide their patients with accurate, science-based information.”

The California State Assembly in house resolution declared “health misinformation to be a public health crisis, and urged the State of California to commit to appropriately combating health misinformation and curbing the spread of falsehoods that threaten the health and safety of Californians.”.

California would become the first state in the USA to punish doctors for giving patients false or misleading information about COVID-19 risks, vaccinations and treatments if the bill is signed into law in the coming weeks by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The bill leaves it up to the Medical Board of California to decide whether doctors’ interactions with patients — not their public statements — rise to the level of unprofessional conduct, and then to determine whether that merits revoking their medical license or taking other action, such as suspension.

“Existing law provides for the licensure and regulation of physicians and surgeons by the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. Existing law requires the applicable board to take action against any licensed physician and surgeon who is charged with unprofessional conduct, as provided,” the bill reads.