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.
Half of COVID vaccine rejectors think that vaccines in general cause autism. Even when they take the vaccine, there could be a problem.
Brett Kelman at the Nashville Tennessean:
The Tennessee state government will resume all forms of vaccine outreach, with the narrow exception of social media posts aimed specifically at children, after halting many forms of advocacy this month in response to conservative pressure, the state's top health official said Friday.
Tennessee also faces a new “surge” of coronavirus that shows no signs of slowing, and deaths from the virus are expected to spike in coming weeks, the health official warned.
Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the Tennessee Department of Health will restart outreach efforts recommending vaccines for children and once again hold events on school property offering the COVID-19 vaccine, including some next week. Department staff are no longer instructed to strip the agency logo from public-facing vaccine information, she said.
“Nothing has been stopped permanently,” Piercey said during a press briefing. “We put a pause on many things, and then we have resumed all of those."
Piercey said her agency will also, in rare circumstances, provide the COVID-19 vaccine to minors without the permission of their parents. This statement is a contradiction to an announcement made this week by conservative lawmakers, who said Piercey agreed in a private meeting to stop this practice.
The Tennessee Department of Health drew nationwide attention this month after exclusive reporting by The Tennessean revealed the agency had dramatically scaled back efforts to promote the coronavirus vaccine to minors. The changes came after conservative state lawmakers lambasted the agency for gently recommending the vaccine to minors and proposed dissolving the entire agency to make the outreach stop.
Martin Pengelly at The Guardian:
A conservative radio host in Tennessee who urged listeners not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has changed track and called on listeners to get the shot, after contracting the virus and ending up in hospital in “very serious condition”.
In a statement posted to social media, Phil Valentine’s family detailed his condition and said: “Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
The family also said the WTN host had “never been an ‘anti-vaxer’”, but “regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon”.
Valentine, 61, did, however, play down the need for vaccines and perform a song called Vaxman, to the tune of Taxman, George Harrison’s Beatles number against government taxation.
“Let me tell you how it will be,” he sang, “and I don’t care if you agree, ‘Cause I’m the Vaxman, yeah I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.”