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Should doctors who are public officials have the right to spread medical misinformation to the general public?

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration say the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks. Meanwhile, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo has called for a halt in the use of the mRNA vaccine, the latest COVID shot, citing safety concerns. Ladapo advises getting non-mRNA vaccines.

Claudia E. Haupt, a Northeastern University professor of law and political science and a First Amendment expert, says “calling vaccine safety into question can really cause grave harm” to citizens Ladapo addresses as the chief medical official for the state of Florida. According to the CDC and FDA, misinformation could be harmful to the public by lowering vaccination rates. “When professionals, including government officials, give bad advice, I think there’s a really strong argument for involvement of regulatory bodies,” Haupt says.

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