Vaccines play a vital role in saving lives, preventing diseases, and easing the strain on healthcare systems. Recognizing this, various medical organizations, including the AMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, and American Geriatrics Society, have jointly submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Murthy v. Missouri. This document emphasizes the crucial need to counter vaccine misinformation to safeguard public health.
The brief highlights the collective experience of hundreds of thousands of medical professionals who have witnessed both the life-saving potential of vaccines and the damaging impact of misinformation. Drawing on decades of research and practice, these organizations stress the unparalleled benefits of vaccines as a cornerstone of public health.
On the legal front, Missouri and Louisiana’s attorneys general have filed suits against social media platforms, alleging coercion in censoring individuals critical of COVID-19 policies, masks, and vaccine mandates. Conversely, the Biden administration argues that its engagement with these platforms aimed to curb online misinformation, particularly by flagging content violating platform policies.
A central point of the brief is the detrimental effect of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccine uptake, which undermines the vaccines’ effectiveness in saving lives and controlling the spread of the virus. The government’s intervention, therefore, becomes imperative in combating falsehoods that endanger public health.
The brief underscores the safety of FDA-approved vaccines, emphasizing the rigorous process of clinical trials and ongoing monitoring by regulatory agencies. In contrast, it highlights baseless claims circulating widely, such as individuals becoming “magnetized” post-vaccination or being implanted with tracking microchips, which lack credible evidence.
Moreover, the decline in vaccination rates due to misinformation has led to the resurgence of diseases like measles, once on the brink of eradication. Legal proceedings surrounding the case have seen a district court ruling in July 2023 limiting governmental communication with social media companies, partially upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s intervention in October temporarily halted the district court order until its own ruling, expected in June.
In a related case, the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies has filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the upholding of a permanent injunction against a 2021 Montana law barring physicians from accessing vaccination status information of employees or patients who decline to disclose it.