Dr. Renata Moon, former clinical associate professor of medicine and critic of the COVID-19 vaccines, was recently dismissed from Washington State University (WSU) for her views on the vaccine.
This loss of employment was shocking, particularly given Dr. Moon’s role as a founding volunteer of the university’s medical school.
“I was on the school’s first admissions committee,” she said. “I helped write some of the founding policies of the school.”
Nevertheless, WSU opted to dismiss Dr. Moon. The termination was unceremonious in a way: Dr. Moon’s employment contract was simply not renewed. Yet while the end of her time teaching was more whimper than bang, signs of the dismissal began months before.
The rift between Dr. Moon and her university employer stemmed from her appearance at a December 2022 roundtable discussion hosted by Sen. Ron Johnson in Washington, D.C. Alongside other scientists, medical professionals, doctors, and advocates for the vax-injured, Dr. Moon spoke on her own time—not in a university-related capacity.
“I voiced my concerns about the danger of giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children. I said that physicians are being silenced. I didn’t tell my school I was going to the event because it was on my own personal time. I didn’t think more of it,” Dr. Moon said.
Then in March 2023, Dr. Moon received a memo from her medical school employer—a warning specifically related to her COVID vaccine testimony in Washington, D.C. In this communication, she was told, essentially, to stop talking about the vaccine issue. Dr. Moon was dumbfounded.
“I was surprised—I thought we still had some free speech,” she said.
On June 29, Dr. Moon got her walking papers, given by way of a memo stating, “Your participation is no longer required.”
According to Dr. Moon, WSU has impugned her character. She was terminated even though in her lengthy career as a pediatrician, she’d never had any actions referred to any state medical board or received a single lawsuit filed against her. Plus, the allegations of misinformation brought against her were never proven.
“I thought, ‘I’m being purged,’” she said. “I couldn’t believe they were so blatant.” Ultimately, Dr. Moon believed, “the message [my dismissal] sends to the students and faculty is you have to stay with the party line or it ends your career.”
Yet how can concerned medical professionals stay silent? “This has everything to do with my Hippocratic Oath,” Dr. Moon said. “As a practicing physician it’s my obligation to speak when I have valid concerns about the dangers of a medical product. I was persecuted for stating the facts about what I have personally observed.”
In today’s world, though, professors must be ever mindful of their students’ feelings. Other universities have punished professors for sharing different perspectives with students. Dr. Moon’s recent experience in medical education is no different. In 2021, she was pulled from her teaching after some of her medical students complained that different perspectives shared in discussion groups had caused them to feel unsafe.
“I was pulled from my teaching schedule because students said they were harmed by my discussions with them in discussion groups. I was pulled due to complaints of anonymous students,” she said.
In a discussion on racism with her students, Dr. Moon paraphrased Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.
“The medical students who complained told my chairman that I said people of color don’t exist—I didn’t say that,” she said. “I paraphrased the portion of Dr. King’s speech when he stated, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’ and some anonymous students stated that they didn’t feel safe hearing this perspective.”
When Dr. Moon’s medical students asked her thoughts about the COVID-19 vaccine in a December 2020 discussion group, she stated that she was worried that the vaccine could have serious side effects and wondered about the distribution of the vaccine mRNA in the body. Her students complained to university administration that she had said that the vaccine might not be 100 percent safe and that this discussion had caused them harm. Other students were bothered when hearing Dr. Moon state that in her pediatric office she had seen a large increase in children with depression and anxiety related to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“I was told some of my students didn’t feel safe because of these things I said. The medical school administrators investigated, and they never spoke to the students who hadn’t complained,” Dr. Moon said. “They told me my job was to ensure that the students felt safe. They ultimately decided that I should take a test to assess how racist I might be.”
After taking this diversity test and after DEI training, Dr. Moon was reinstated to her teaching job—only to be ultimately dismissed after her COVID vaccine skepticism. She said the whole process felt crazy since her parents had fled life from behind the Iron Curtain because of similar oppression by authorities.
“Our beautiful nation is in a lot of trouble,” she said. “A lot of physicians are laying low. They are afraid to speak out for fear of persecution and career loss. We cannot have a system that forces doctors to stay silent about their real concerns and become mouthpieces of the pharmaceutical industry. Other physicians have bought in to the propaganda that they are being inundated with and are unaware of what is happening to everyone’s freedom.”
“What does this mean for our future health care?” she asked.
After all, if doctors are afraid to voice their opinions, how can we trust our medical system? If professors cannot share their honest thoughts and moderate robust student discussions on a variety of perspectives, how can we trust our universities? Medicine and science are built on a foundation of free speech and debate, not on censorship. In a world that wants to silence the truth, it will take individuals like Dr. Moon to stand up for freedom, lest we face a world without it.
Image credit: Dr. Renata Moon9 comments