In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.
There are signs of considerable overlap between the antivax movement and the anti-shutdown movement.
Liz Szabo at Kaiser Health News reports that some anti-vaccine groups are joining with anti-lockdown protesters:
The anti-vaccine movement has never been limited to one political party. Left-leaning vaccine critics — such as Children’s Health Defense, led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — include environmentalists who are suspicious of chemical pollutants, corporations and “Big Pharma.” The Kennedy group’s website attacks Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for rushing “risky and uncertain coronavirus vaccines” into development as part of a “sweetheart deal” for drug companies.
On the other side of the political spectrum, many anti-vaccine conservatives oppose state immunization requirements because they distrust “big government.”
In many ways, the conservative arm of the anti-vaccine movement is a natural ally for those leading “reopen America” rallies, said Dr. David Gorski, an oncologist and managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine site. Both harbor suspicions about government authority.
- A group called Texans for Vaccine Choice has called on the governor to promise that no one will be forced to get a coronavirus vaccine in order to go to work or school.
- Posts on the Facebook page of Californians for Health Choice, which also opposed California’s vaccine laws, question stay-at-home orders and accuse government officials of refusing to admit the orders are a mistake.
- In a video on the Freedom Angels’ Facebook page, its founders describe stay-at-home orders as an abuse of government authority, and the closure of California gun shops as an assault on the Second Amendment. The group notes that guns could be essential for protection from rioters and looters looking to steal food during the pandemic.
Vaccine critics, for example, have long championed the false claim that vaccines cause autism, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tried to cover up that information, Gorski said. Trump has at times linked vaccines with autism, although he came out strongly in favor of vaccinations during the 2019 measles epidemic.