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Monday, March 1, 2021

Domestic Terrorism

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.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrong.

Dr. Richard Pan, a California state senator, writes at WP:
[In] Los Angeles on Jan. 30 ... a mob of anti-vaccine protesters stormed Dodger Stadium, one of the nation’s largest vaccination centers. These extremists succeeded in temporarily shutting down the site, delaying patients, many of them elderly, from getting their shots. The anti-vaccine activists have told the Los Angeles Times that they intend to keep disrupting vaccination efforts.

This campaign to deny potentially lifesaving vaccines to those seeking them, and to poison public opinion against vaccinations, could result in countless American deaths. That is akin to domestic terrorism.
Public health officials, police and fire departments must join hands with a common goal of securing vaccination sites for patients. But, like the virus itself, anti-vaccine extremists are crafty at finding new ways to threaten people. Disruptions are possible anywhere vaccinations are being administered, at sites large and small — even at pharmacies, just as anti-maskers have harassed employees and customers at stores.

A troubling thought is that both the social media companies and the extremists have a financial interest in continuing as before. Coordinated attacks on the truth by anti-vaccine propagandists are the best advertising for the alternative remedies and magical supplements that many anti-vaccine leaders sell to their followers.

Taking concerted steps to counter the coronavirus anti-vaccine movement has already resulted in violent threats being hurled at me and my legislative colleagues as recently as Thursday. Last month, an anti-vaccine extremist shouted from the Senate gallery, “We didn’t buy guns for nothing.” But that should not deter anyone who’s interested in fighting the pandemic from championing evidence-based policies.

City News Service update: 

Dozens of people not wearing masks protested the COVID-19 vaccine at the entrance to Dodger Stadium this afternoon as people in cars steadily drove through to keep appointments at the county's largest vaccination site.

Unlike last month's anti-vaccination protest at the stadium, today's did not appear to interfere with the vaccination operations.

Signs read: "929 Deaths After Vaccination in the USA," and "This Is Not a Normal Vaccine," according to video from the scene posted on Twitter by Cal State Northridge student journalist Emily Holshouser at about 2 p.m.