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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Many Won't Take a Coronavirus Vaccine

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Matt Ford at The New Republic:
To make matters worse, developing a coronavirus vaccine will only be half the battle. The other half will be getting people to actually take it. A survey released Wednesday by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research suggests that it may be an uphill fight. Only 49 percent of Americans said they planned on getting a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, according to the poll, while 31 percent said they were unsure. Perhaps the most troubling finding was that 20 percent of Americans said they would not get the vaccine at all.
Even before the coronavirus, however, states wrestled with a newer challenge to public health: the resurgence of the anti-vaccine movement. Fueled by a discredited study claiming a link to autism, as well as a deluge of misinformation on the internet, anti-vaxxers in the U.S. and Europe have contributed to a decline in overall vaccination rates. As a result, some childhood diseases that had previously been kept in check by herd immunity have begun to make a resurgence. In 2018 and 2019, New York experienced its worst measles outbreak in almost three decades, which infected hundreds of children and spread to other states.
To complicate matters further, Trump and conservative media outlets have already sought to turn public health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing into another front in the culture wars. In recent days, Trump derided former Vice President Joe Biden for wearing a mask in public over the Memorial Day weekend and claimed a White House reporter who wore one was being “politically correct.” The president also has a long history of publicly disputing the scientific consensus on vaccines and even reiterated concerns about the disproven link to autism. If he and his allies find political value in stoking fears and doubts about a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available, then a safe way out of this crisis might be even further out of reach.