NewsCovering California


Doctor faces disciplinary charges for vaccination exemptions

Measles Vaccine
Posted at 9:01 AM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 12:01:51-05

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A state medical official has filed disciplinary charges against a Santa Rosa doctor who issued medical exemptions from vaccination for three children, accusing him of gross negligence.

The allegations against Dr. Ron Kennedy could lead to the suspension or revocation of his license, which he has held since 1975, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The allegations were filed Wednesday by Christine Lally, executive director of the Medical Board of California, and will be considered by the board at a future hearing.

California requires schoolchildren to be inoculated against infectious diseases, including measles, mumps, chicken pox, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and rubella. Parents could formerly invoke personal opposition to vaccinations to exempt their children, but the state repealed the exemption in 2016 after an outbreak of measles traced to children at Disneyland. It also required a doctor to approve any exemptions for health reasons.

The state’s vaccination rate increased after the law took effect but the number of medical exemptions more than tripled, according to a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Kennedy works at an “antiaging” medical clinic in Santa Rosa. He initially refused to turn over his records to the state Medical Board, but a San Francisco judge and a state appeals court ordered him to release the documents, and the state Supreme Court declined to review his appeal.

According to Lally’s accusation, Sonoma County health officials received complaints from schools and preschools in 2017 expressing concerns about medical exemptions Kennedy was issuing.

Kennedy’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.