JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Physicians who spread misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine could now have their license to practice medicine suspended or completely revoked, according to a new policy adopted by the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure.
The policy, adopted on Sept. 7, says that doctors have an “ethical and professional responsibility” to practice medicine in the best interest of their patients and share factual and scientifically-grounded information with them.
“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,” the policy reads.
The policy says whether physicians “recognize it or not” they possess a high degree of public trust due to their specialized knowledge and training. That gives them “a powerful platform in society.”
The policy specifically warns doctors against spreading misinformation on social media and strongly recommends physicians separate their personal and professional content online.
“Physicians must understand that actions online and content posted can affect their reputation, have consequences for their medical careers, and undermine public trust in the medical profession,” it reads.
The Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure also states in the policy that the rule extends beyond COVID-19 vaccine issues.
“Physicians have an ethical obligation to ensure that medical information they provide in a media environment is accurate, inclusive of known risks and benefits, commensurate with their medical expertise, and based on valid scientific evidence and insight gained from professional experience,” it reads.