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Sunday, May 3, 2020

More on Antivaxxers and Shutdown Protests

 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 Trump has helped spread misinformation.

The antivaxxers are joining up with protests against the coronavirus shutdown.

For instance, antivaxxers were prominent in a Friday anti-shutdown rally in Sacramento.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs at NYT:
The people behind the rally are founders of a group, the Freedom Angels Foundation, which is best known in California for its opposition to state efforts to mandate vaccinations. And the protest was the latest example of the overlapping interests that have connected a range of groups — including Tea Party activists and armed militia groups — to oppose the measures that governors have taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Activists known for their opposition to vaccines have also been involved in protests in New York, Colorado and Texas, where they have found a welcome audience for their arguments for personal freedom and their suspicion of government. But their growing presence at the protests worries public health experts who fear that their messaging could harm the United States’ ability to turn a corner following the pandemic if Americans do not accept a future vaccine.
Heidi Muñoz Gleisner, one of the three women who hosted the rally in Sacramento on Friday and were arrested by the police, said the stay-at-home orders that are now expiring in many states had mobilized people who span a variety of groups focused on individual liberty.
In recent years, Ms. Muñoz Gleisner and the two other founding members of the Freedom Angels, Denise Aguilar and Tara Thornton, have organized people in California and New Jersey against bills that crack down on non-medical exemptions for vaccinations and the process by which they’re granted.

Many were galvanized by a 2015 fight over a state bill introduced in response to a measles outbreak at Disneyland.

In New York, Rita Palma, who runs a blog and seeks to halt mandatory vaccinations, voiced support for the California protest and joined one herself in Albany, where she interviewed protesters and streamed the rally on her Facebook page. And Jonathan Lockwood, a consultant who has worked with conservatives in several states on matters including opposition to the California vaccination bill last year, founded the ReopenAmerica Project, which urges lawmakers to get the country “back up and running.”
All of this activity takes place as yet another study finds that vaccines do not cause autism