Mississippi doctors form group to push back against vaccine mandates
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - By now, you’ve heard a lot about COVID and the fight against misinformation. That’s happening at the national, state and local level.
And now there’s a debate surrounding vaccine mandates, too.
The board of medical licensure makes it clear that they aren’t trying to limit anyone’s free speech. But some of the state’s doctors say they feel threatened by the board’s latest policy.
Dr. John Witcher recently started the Mississippi Against Mandates group.
“What we’re seeing is adverse events from these COVID vaccinations with our patients. And so we’re getting more and more alarmed,” he said. “And we want to just be able to talk about these adverse events that we’re seeing and not be silenced.”
Dr. Wesley Granger soon joined in.
“I have never in my 32-years of practicing medicine seen such a high rate of sudden heart attacks, strokes, neurological issues and patients who’ve never had a problem or risk factors associated with this. And so I just felt that I needed to do something more,” he said.
Witcher believes his billboard may have prompted the board of medical licensure adopting a Medical Misinformation or Disinformation policy that references doctors who are at risk of losing their license or having it suspended if they generate or spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
But the board says doctors have the right to share their beliefs.
“We would prefer that if they’re going to take to social media and do things like that that they separate their personal opinions and beliefs from their professional opinions and beliefs,” he said. “Now, if they happen to be the same then that’s where we would get involved is when they’re putting the opinions out as a professional. They’re putting the white jacket on, the code of legitimacy. Then we would expect them to be held to a higher standard at that point.”
Board Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Cleveland notes that they aren’t referring to doctors sharing unpopular opinions but rather it would have to be a really egregious statement like “nobody should ever take any vaccine.”
“But if it’s a defensible statement, if there is some truth in what they’re saying… Then that would not be a situation where we would go to a hearing,” he explained.
They’re a complaint-driven organizations. So, someone would beed to file a complaint before an investigation would start.
Meanwhile, Witcher says he has been notified of a compliant filed against him.
“I was approached by an investigator. And he said that just want to let you know that, you know, that they have an open investigation on me. I said you haven’t crossed the line yet. But you’re getting close.”
Secretary of State Michael Watson sent a letter to the board this week questioning the lack of a trigger for action within the policy.
The board’s executive director says they have a meeting scheduled.
Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.