nbc 7 investigates

Clairemont Doctor's Medical License at Risk Over Vaccine Exemptions

The Medical Board of California is accusing the doctor of signing waivers for two children without examining them

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A San Diego doctor’s medical license could be revoked or suspended following a state accusation that he signed vaccine exemption forms for two children at the request of their father. The Medical Board of California says Dr. Brian First admitted to signing those waivers in May of 2021, despite never examining either child.

First practices on Genesee Avenue in Clairemont, and is affiliated with Sharp HealthCare.

According to the state accusation, which was filed in February, the exemption forms stated that the children have a "strong family history of autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, [i]mmune cancer and a genetic mutation that makes severe vaccine reactions more likely." Investigators say he told them he “used a vaccination exemption letter previously written by another treatment provider for the patients, changed the wording a little, and signed it.” 

The accusation doesn’t say whether the exemptions were for the COVID-19 vaccine or not. They only state that the children “should be exempt from all CDC-recommended vaccines ‘until more complete immunological testing can be completed’.” 

The accusation says the exemptions were submitted to the California Department of Public Health for review, but it did not state who submitted them. State documents point out that First “specializes in internal medicine and endocrinology and only treats adult patients.”

NBC 7 Investigates reached out to the Medical Board of California to request case evidence but were denied due to state public records laws. We also called, mailed a letter and stopped by First’s office to give him an opportunity to respond to the accusation. We have yet to hear back from him.

Sharp HealthCare provided us with this written statement: “It is not appropriate for Sharp HealthCare to comment on any matter involving an independent physician as no formal action [has] been taken by the Medical Board at this point. We can state that Sharp’s Senior Health Center closed in 2021 and that Dr. First served his patients well there for more than 20 years.”

While it’s unclear if the exemption letters were for the COVID-19 vaccine, UC San Diego Professor of Medicine Dr. Robert Schooley told us signing phony vaccine exemption letters hurts everyone, by holding us back from herd immunity.

“If you don’t have a contraindication to that vaccine, medically I can’t say that you do,” he said. “And I shouldn’t say that you do.”

More than that, Schooley says it also violates the social contract between society and medical professionals.

“I don’t sign my name to things I don’t believe are true,” Schooley said.

The Medical Board says it has no record indicating that First retained an attorney for future administrative hearings for this case. No court dates have been scheduled as of the publishing of this story.

California patients can see accusations and discipline against health care providers by visiting the Department of Consumer Affairs.

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