State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood) asked the state agency that licenses and regulates physicians in Texas if they will go after doctors who express concerns about vaccinations for COVID–19 and other illnesses. Last year, the agency tried to intimidate doctors not following the line of the medical establishment.

On July 29, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), which represents state medical boards, issued what Hall called an “alarming statement.”

Physicians who generate and spread COVID–19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.

FSMB noted “licensed physicians” have “a high degree of public trust” that gives them societal influence. “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,” they continued.

Hall shot back at FSMB’s statement in an August 11 letter to Sharif Zaafran, president of the Texas Medical Board (TMB). “Unfortunately, in our politically charged environment, ‘inaccurate information’ now encompasses any information not totally aligned with the dictates of government bureaucrats,” he wrote.

Hall also asked TMB to “clarify” that doctors in Texas would not lose their medical license or be “penalized in another way for simply sharing their concerns” about any vaccines, including vaccinations for COVID–19. “Texas physicians need assurance from the Texas Medical Board that they will not be punished for doing their job.”

Hall also asked TMB to ensure nothing in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact law—passed this year by the Texas Legislature as House Bill 1616—will be “misconstrued” to penalize physicians for voicing apprehensions they have regarding COVID–19 vaccines.

“There is simply no good reason for a physician who has legitimate concerns or a differing opinion from government bureaucrats on a COVID–19 vaccine to be penalized,” he wrote.

HB 1616 became law on September 1.

Tarrant County citizen Karen Starnes shared her views after reading Hall’s letter. “As a nurse with 10+ years [of] clinical experience as an RN with my BSN, I agree unequivocally with Senator Hall. We must protect physicians who are standing up for medical freedom and choice,” she told Texas Scorecard. “These doctors are following their oath to their patients and their communities.”

Hall requested a detailed reply from TMB. As of September 2, his office has received no reply. Texas Scorecard also sent multiple inquiries to TMB on Hall’s letter, but no reply was received before publication.

This is not the first time doctors have been afraid of TMB because they’re opting for responses to the Chinese coronavirus not supported by the medical establishment. Last year, Hall defended Texas doctors who found success using anti-viral remedies, like hydroxychloroquine, to combat the virus, from TMB. He said at the time that TMB’s opposition was being driven by Washington, D.C.

The TMB board consists of 19 members, 12 physicians, and “seven public members.” All are appointed by the Texas governor and approved by the Senate. The names of individual board members can be found on TMB’s website.

This article has been updated since publication.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.