At PLOS Biology, Dr. Peter Hotez writes about the growth of antiscience aggression in the United States. It stems om far-right extremism, including members of Congress and conservative news outlets that target scientists fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccines and vaccine scientists are also targeted. Alongside the June Republican COVID-19 origins hearings, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) organized a roundtable in Milwaukee to highlight the rare adverse side effects from COVID-19 vaccines , as evening Fox News anchors promoted fake claims regarding deaths from COVID-19 vaccinations . In July, Rep. Green declared on Twitter that a COVID-19 vaccine is “a political tool used to control people”, while Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said that door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinations were just a step away from US Government confiscations of guns and bibles, and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) referred to vaccinators as “needle Nazis”. Days later, the medical director for vaccines in the Tennessee Department of Health was abruptly terminated for her efforts to vaccinate minors (14 and up) without parental consent. These actions were concurrent with state efforts to halt vaccine advocacy and outreach to teens and adolescents, and at a time when the delta variant is accelerating . As a vaccine scientist and author of a book explaining why autism, including my adult daughter’s autism, is unrelated to vaccines , I am also a target of antivaccine activists, including those writing menacingly about “patriots” who will seek me out. During a June 2021 interview with the staunchly conservative Florida Governor, a Fox News anchor referred to me as “infamous”, and “notorious” .