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A primary care physician can refuse treatment to unvaccinated patients

When it comes to legal matters pertaining to COVID-19 and vaccinations, many people have questions.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When it comes to legal matters pertaining to COVID-19 and vaccinations, we’ve seen several claims circulating the internet. 

One THV11 VERIFY viewer wrote in, asking, “Is it legal for a primary care physician to stop seeing patients who he has treated for 10+ years for not getting the experimental COVID vaccine?

The answer is yes.

Our sources are Attorney Cara Boyd-Connors and a law professor at the University of Arkansas, Danielle Weatherby.

Attorney Boyd pointed out that the COVID-19 vaccine is not "experimental," in that the shot has been recommended and approved by the CDC.

"As far as I know under the law, there is nothing that precludes a physician from terminating a patient relationship as long as it is not due to any discriminatory reasons, i.e. race, sex, or sexual orientation,” Boyd said.

And according to Weatherby, a private care doctor has more leeway in deciding who they treat and can deny non-emergency care if their patient isn't being cooperative or following recommendations.

"There are certainly reasons that would make the doctor’s refusal to treat discriminatory, but refusal to vaccinate—unless it’s based on a religious objection, which gets much more complicated— is currently not one of them for a private doctor.”

We can verify, yes, it is legal for a primary care doctor to stop treating a patient for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.