IRVINE (CBSLA/AP) — A Capistrano Beach pediatrician and longtime critic of mandatory vaccinations has been placed on a lengthy probation by the Medical Board of California for exempting a toddler from immunizations.
On Wednesday, the board announced that it had put Dr. Bob Sears on probation for 35 months. Under the terms of a settlement Sears reached with the board, he will be allowed to practice medicine during this time, but must adhere to certain conditions, otherwise his medical license will be revoked.
Those conditions include undergoing at least 40 hours of medical education programs per year, along with an ethics course. He must also be continually monitored by another physician or surgeon, and must notify every hospital and clinic where he practices of his probation situation. He is also not allowed to supervise physician assistants or advances practice nurses.
In 2014, the board accused Sears of “gross negligence” when he wrote a letter excusing a toddler from future vaccinations after the child’s mother described an adverse reaction to shots.
The complaint says Sears failed to obtain a detailed medical history documenting the boy’s prior vaccines and reactions needed for an evidence-based recommendation, leaving the boy and those he came in contact with at risk for contracting contagious diseases.
In a Facebook post Friday, Sears denied wrongdoing.
“Why accept a settlement when I’ve done nothing wrong?” Sears asked. “The challenge with medical board cases is that even if I win on all aspects of a case, the medical board can still exercise its authority and put me on probation anyway. I win, or lose, a trial before a judge, then the medical board decides the punishment based on how they see the facts. Since it was likely that I’d get probation anyway, I accepted the offer.”
Sears is the author of “The Vaccine Book,” which touts an alternative shot schedule to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. In an op-ed piece published in the Orange County Register in 2015, he wrote that “vaccination is important and protective. But it cannot be forced; a parent must give consent.”
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