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The GMC must take a stand against doctors who spread false and misleading information about vaccines

To: The General Medical Council’s (GMC)

We support the group of doctors who are taking legal action to protect the public. We too believe that the GMC must fulfill its obligation to keep people safe, and take action against those doctors who spread false information.

The UK’s General Medical Council’s (GMC) main obligation is to protect the public. When a doctor makes a public statement about a medical issue, we expect them to tell the truth. We also expect the GMC to investigate doctors whose behaviour appears to have fallen below the standard we might reasonably expect.

It seems the GMC have decided not to investigate certain doctors who repeatedly make false and misleading statements which greatly over-emphasise the harms of vaccines and under-emphasise their benefits.

While doctors are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts. Some doctors have depicted Covid-19 vaccines one-sidedly as harmful products that should never have been licensed, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

The influence of such individuals has been disproportionate. They have appeared on podcasts broadcast to millions and on popular YouTube channels, making unsupported claims with a false veneer of professional authority.

Wilful distribution of false information by doctors perverts the trust placed in the medical profession and medical science; it fuels vaccine hesitancy, infodemics and anti-vaccine conspiracies. A recent poll shows that a quarter of people in the UK now believe that Covid-19 was a hoax.

False information which leads to people turning down vaccines is potentially dangerous, especially when directed at groups who are at increased risk of harm from Covid-19, such as pregnant women.

We support doctors, scientists and others who raise legitimate concerns about the benefit-harm balance of vaccines and who seek to contribute to genuine scientific debate. Our concern is with those doctors who appear to be wilfully misrepresenting the facts.

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