Sherri Tenpenny is not a doctor

Finally, one quack goes down. The notorious anti-vaxxer Sherri Tenpenny has had her medical license suspended, at long last. It should have been done long ago.

Two years ago, a Cleveland area physician strode into the House Health Committee room and told state lawmakers that COVID-19 vaccines magnetize their hosts and “interface” with cell towers.

Her comments, the subject of widespread ridicule, triggered a swarm of 350 complaints to the State Medical Board and a chain of events that led to the regulators indefinitely suspending the medical license Wednesday of anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny.

Oh, yeah, the magnetized people claim. It’s as stupid as it sounds.

It was June 2021, just as scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines began to wane and health officials focused on the yeoman’s work of convincing hundreds of millions of Americans to take up the novel products. However, many conservatives sought to undercut this campaign, often under arguments about “medical freedom.” Tenpenny, speaking before a crowd of anti-vaccine activists, warned of purported dangers of vaccines with a firehose of debunked and misleading statements.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized,” Tenpenny said to the panel of lawmakers.

“They can put a key on their forehead and it sticks … There have been people who have long suspected there’s an interface, yet to be defined, an interface between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers.”

Behold my magnetic powers!

Although…it’s true. I’ve received many vaccinations, and I just tested it, and look, I can make pennies stick to my forehead! I’ve been able to do this for my whole life, though, and I can’t say it’s particularly useful. I guess I could entertain my granddaughter for a minute and a half with that trick. Or drive an anti-vaxxer into a frothing fury for a couple of years.

Unfortunately, stripping Tenpenny of her medical license won’t slow her down in the slightest. It’s not as if she’s been practicing medicine all this time, she instead peddles “alternative” treatments to the gullible. Being denied a license by The Establishment will probably enhance her reputation among her clientele.

Her podcast is still squawking lies into the æther, and she has the ear of influential people — such as Joseph Ladapo, the surgeon general of Florida.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo recently appeared on the podcast of a prominent anti-vaccine advocate, where he continued to make claims about vaccines that are contradictory to widespread medical consensus.

Medical experts have said Ladapo’s claims are dangerous, and that his very presence on the podcast — and other recent appearances on shows promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories — gives credibility and support to anti-vaccine rhetoric.

Lapado’s latest comments are part of a litany of dubious claims that have alarmed public health officials in Florida and across the country since he got appointed surgeon general more than a year ago by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

This is a guy who says the risks of the COVID vaccines outweigh the benefits for most people, who has blocked the use of COVID vaccines in Florida, and refuses to use a mask — but he is a Harvard graduate, you know. He’s also blatantly ideological and conservative, making his comments to Tenpenny particularly ironic.

Despite being the head of Florida’s Department of Health, Ladapo bashed a majority of the nation’s physicians for their vaccine beliefs, saying they cannot separate themselves from their ideologies and politics.

“Our colleagues, for the most part, can’t be brought back into alignment with reality,” Ladapo said on the podcast. “I don’t have any faith that most of our physician colleagues, sadly, can be rehabilitated.”

Tenpenny went so far as to compare current doctors with those in Nazi Germany who participated in or didn’t oppose the mass killing of and experimentation on people, namely Jews, citing a passage written into the first page of the foreword of Ladapo’s own book, which he promoted on the podcast.

Kudos on getting a license suspended after years of talking, but Tenpenny isn’t going to hesitate and is going to continue to poison the discourse for many more years to come — and she’ll make bank off it, too.


  1. wzrd1 says

    I feel incredibly bad for her sudden(ish) career demise.
    Can I donate to her a dime and a nickel, just to improve her worth and namesake?

  2. wzrd1 says

    Oh, for the medical board, kudos on finally shedding medical incompetence, I now almost trust that particular board.
    Faith and credit are Constitutionally guaranteed, not personally guaranteed.
    And I’m quite guarded in trusting medical professionals and legal professionals, who self-guide.
    Which undermines all of society in my view.
    Not a good thing, given my history.

    In short, do what’s unpleasant earlier, get it right.
    Lest we revert, as some seem to want to, to hacksawing babies or something.
    Personally, I prefer that occupation to pathologists.*
    I am considering a Constitutional amendment that erases corruption of blood.

    *Got to pretty much see that while fixing a pathology lab computer. No hacksaw, just a big assed knife.
    Necessary, but still unpleasant. Took pathology afterward and OR, as my team was unable to handle such mentally.

  3. raven says

    In Realityland, 96% of American doctors were vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus.

    “AMA survey shows over 96% of doctors fully vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus …”

  4. Artor says

    I’m trying to remember the last time I ever saw a key made from steel instead of brass. Maybe the barrel type, but every flat key I can recall has been brass. Fuck, some people are goddamn stupid!

  5. cartomancer says

    That reminds me, I had probably best look into getting another covid booster, and maybe a flu vaccination, soon.

  6. says

    Totally stupid. Many of the things that people claim stick to them magnetically are not ferromagnetic! It’s kind of like saying that the vaccines will make you lactose intolerant, and they can “prove” it by eating some almonds and then throwing up. Yeah, no.

  7. stwriley says

    The real problem is that these hucksters won’t ever see any real consequences for their shameless lies and grifting. Tenpenny should be prosecuted for fraud (as should many other “alternative treatment” grifters) for selling people things that absolutely will not do what she claims they do. But she’ll never see the in side of a courtroom, because there’s no one really minding the store when it comes to this kind of fraud. Lapado is even worse, given his position, but his lies can continue because he’s at least savvy enough not to commit direct fraud, just lie to people and promote his book. It’s the terrible reality of our system that these people can spread untold harm and never be called to account for it except in very limited ways, like suspending Tenpenny’s medical license, that don’t prevent them from continuing to deceive and harm.

  8. Larry says

    As of the end of July, the CDC estimates the deaths from Covid-19 to be 1.13 million people. Tenpenny, Ladapo, and De Santis are directly responsible for a significant fraction of those deaths. In another time, they and their fellow idiots would rightly be referred to as mass murders. Probably prosecutable as such, but mass murders, none-the-less.

  9. chigau (違う) says

    I just found out that USA coins are not magnetic but Canadian coins are magnetic.
    My sample of USA coins is small: a 1983 dime and a 2000 dollar.

  10. Larry says

    The only magnetic coins minted in the US would have the steel pennies from WWII. Gold, silver, copper, and the alloys used are not.

  11. wzrd1 says

    cartomancer @ 6, my plans as well. Figuring for October.
    Although, I’m embarrassed ad not properly tracking the influenza vaccine progress. Re-adding it to my tracking list.
    We do need to hold people liable for their “free speech” when it repeatedly causes public harm.
    For public health issues, I do suggest skirting corruption of blood barely.
    In person, I’m a nice guy. But, all are swiftly educated that there’s a not nice side of me. None object to that not nice side, save for regret that I have to experience it.

  12. Rich Woods says

    @cartomancer #6:

    I had probably best look into getting another covid booster, and maybe a flu vaccination

    I don’t know how old you are or where you live in the UK but our wonderful government has decided to no longer offer these vaccines to the 50-64 portion of the English population as in the last two years.

    You’d think, given the year-round pressure now on the NHS in England, that investing in any preventative measure would be worth the risk of being surprised by the Eris variant living up to her name.

    Oh well. If there’s a spike in deaths this winter it’ll mostly fall amongst Conservative voters and in an election year.

  13. larpar says

    PZ has been busy in the lab. He has invented a new type of magnetism that works on zinc. I bet it involves spider silk, or maybe venom.

  14. jenorafeuer says

    As was pointed out in a comment on Orac’s recent piece on the toothlessness of medical boards, it isn’t even actually her Covid-denialism or anti-vaxx attitudes that are getting her disciplined, strictly speaking… it’s the fact that she was refusing to co-operate with an investigation into all of the complaints that have resulted from her denialism and anti-vaxx attitudes.

    If she’d played along with the investigation she might have received less of a punishment without actually changing her views or practices at all.

    Which isn’t exactly reassuring.

    Much like education, medical boards are often very deliberately underfunded by people who hate having anybody else in a position of telling them what to do…

  15. ardipithecus says

    @17 Matt G

    That’s for people who wish to buy their used cars from vending machines.

  16. Jazzlet says

    Larry @ 10
    I’ve seen an estimate from a sensible scientist (nah, of course I can’t remember who) that .330 000 unvaccinated Americans died who would have survived had they been vaccinated. I haven’t seen anything about how many have serious sequelae from COVID, but who would have avoided them had they been vaccinated.

  17. wcaryk says

    Tenpenny also claimed that there is “something” in the vaccine that gives you “some sort of interface, yet to be defined” between you and 5G towers.

    You simply cannot buy entertainment like this.

  18. says

    She’s overpriced at ten pennies. Wooden nickel might be a bit more in line; maybe farthing.

    (And pennies used to have enough nickel in the alloy core — by weight, they’re down to 2.5% copper since the early 80s, and the core is now purer zinc — to be detectably magnetic, although not sufficiently to overcome their weight without other trickery. Like the well-known cranial adhesiveness of pointy-headed liberal professors.)

  19. Pierce R. Butler says

    … Sherri Tenpenny has had her medical license suspended…

    No doubt she can get another one in Florida. Prob’ly a professorship too.

  20. billseymour says

    Quoted in the OP:

    Ladapo bashed a majority of the nation’s physicians …, saying they cannot separate themselves from their ideologies and politics.

    It’s projection all the way down.

  21. jrkrideau says

    An interesting little study.

    <ahref=”″> Excess Death Rates for Republican and Democratic Registered Voters in Florida and Ohio During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  22. Eric says

    @23: I can pretty much guarantee that everyone who makes (or believes) these claims has a cellphone in their pocket.

  23. says

    Okay, there is no scientific evidence vaccines make you magnetic.

    On the other hand, since my vaccinations I find it much easier to catch the occasional bus.

    A bit inconvenient if I don’t actually WANT to take the bus.