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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

A Looming Disaster in Tennessee

 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.

UnfortunatelyRepublican politicians and conservative media figures are increasingly joining up with the anti-vaxxers

Aaron Blake at WP:
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.