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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Antivax Ambush

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.

Lara Korte at The Sacramento Bee:

The head of the California Medical Board says members of an anti-vaccine group known to spread misinformation about COVID-19 treatments targeted her at her home and workplace in Walnut Creek on Monday. Kristina Lawson, president of the state agency that licenses and disciplines medical doctors, first shared the “terrifying experience” on Twitter Wednesday.


 Lawson, through a spokesman, told The Sacramento Bee that the men identified themselves as belonging to a group called America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing political organization known to oppose COVID-19 vaccines and offer unproven treatments for those infected with the virus.


From State Senator Richard Pan:

Dr. Richard Pan, pediatrician and state senator representing the Sacramento region, made the following statement regarding the stalking and harassment of Kristina Lawson, President of the California Medical Board by anti-vaccine extremists:

“As a physician, State Senator and Chair of the California Senate Committee on Health, I strongly condemn the stalking and harassment of Kristina Lawson, President of the California Medical Board. This harassment is part of a pattern of intimidating people from doing their jobs and protecting the public. Anti-vaccine extremists and others who peddle disinformation know they cannot succeed with facts and science, so they resort to personal attacks. This behavior is not only a threat to the public servants, but a danger to the enter public. We will all be harmed if public servants are bullied for protecting us. The perpetrators of these threats need to be held responsible and I implore law enforcement, to investigate and hold these extremists accountable for any laws that have been broken.”

And yes, there is a link to broader right-wing violence. Cheryl Clark at MedPage Today:
Jason Overman, a publicist who Lawson confirmed was representing her, said Lawson told him that the group "announced themselves to her -- and had logos on their jackets and microphones -- as America's Frontline Doctors."

That group is led by Simone Gold, MD, a Los Angeles-based physician with a California license to practice medicine, although there is no information that she was involved in Monday's incident with Lawson.

Gold, who had practiced as an emergency room physician, has appeared in numerous public forums advocating that people avoid getting vaccinated against COVID-19, has opposed lockdowns to prevent spread of the virus, and persuaded patients to instead purchase drugs shown to be ineffective or unproven.

Gold told the Washington Post that she has been fired from two hospital jobs since participating with other physicians in a July 2020 news conference at the Supreme Court, where she spread misinformation about government efforts to contain the virus.

She also was arrested for her role in storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, where she was caught on video making a speech to rioters inside the building.