Tennessee doctors who spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation could lose their licenses

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Robin Hoffecker fills doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a student vaccination event at Chattanooga State Community College on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Tennessee physicians who create or spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation could now face disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of their medical licenses in the most extreme cases, according to a new policy from the state medical board that oversees doctors.

The policy was adopted by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners - a 12-member board that's appointed by the governor and responsible for disciplining physicians who violate practice standards - at its most recent meeting, on Sept. 21.

"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 states.

Board President Dr. Melanie Blake, a Chattanooga-based internist, said during the meeting that the board was forced to address the issue due to "some outliers that are spreading misinformation, misguided information or disinformation - a deceptive form of misinformation."