Unfortunately, Republican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers.
For about as long as certain Republicans and conservative figures have questioned the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines, those people have offered a disclaimer: They’re not “anti-vaxxers,” they’re just asking questions. And asking questions is valid. But those questions often devolved well into conspiracy theorizing and claiming the vaccine effort was something that it wasn’t, using dodgy data and innuendo that had the predictable result of making about half of Republicans say they aren’t getting the shot. And they did so with little pushback from pro-vaccine Republicans.
On Tuesday came perhaps the biggest example of where this often careless vaccine skepticism can lead. Tennessee’s Department of Health is reportedly going to stop not just encouraging minors to get the coronavirus vaccine, but also informing them about that vaccine — or any other vaccines.
...This has been lurking beneath the surface for a long time. Former president Donald Trump before he became president repeatedly cited debunked links between vaccines and autism. GOP officials like Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) have also cast doubt on vaccines for children, with Stitt saying he didn’t get vaccinations for some of his children.
Until about a year ago, this was a much more bipartisan issue, with reservations about vaccination spanning from well-to-do West Coast liberals to more anti-government conservatives. What has transpired since then has been the anti-vaccine movement blowing up more on the right than the left, despite Trump having claimed credit for the production of the vaccine during his administration.
GOP officials in TN didn't want older teenagers to know they could be vaccinated without parental consent. Under pressure, the state health dept. removed posts telling teens they were eligible. And TN's vaccine chief says she was fired over the issue. https://t.co/b3AUHwC2R7— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) July 13, 2021