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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Worldwide Antivax Movement

 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.   Even before COVID, they were fighting vaccine mandates and other public health measures.

Dr. Peter Hotez in Nature:
Many countries now face declining immunization rates as a result of anti-vaccine activism1. In the case of the USA, an anti-vaccine movement that began with false assertions linking vaccines to autism accelerated roughly a decade ago in Texas (where I live and work) around a libertarian framework known as health freedom2. At present, many conservative elected leaders in the US House of Representatives actively promote this health freedom anti-vaccine agenda, as do several US senators, sitting governors and federal judges3. Far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys march at anti-vaccine rallies.


US anti-vaccine activism under the banner of health freedom (also referred to as medical freedom) has produced tragic and even deadly consequences. The loss of life has been massive. Since 1 May 2021, when President Biden’s administration announced that COVID-19 vaccines would become widely and freely available, at least 200,000 unvaccinated Americans have lost their lives potentially needlessly because they refused to have a COVID immunization. Analyses from Charles Gaba and organizations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times have shown that those COVID-19 deaths or low vaccination rates occurred overwhelmingly along a partisan divide and in Republican-majority states, with the highest death rates among US counties that voted heavily for the 2020 re-election of President Trump. A new phrase known as ‘red COVID’ has been invoked to report on this strong partisan divide in vaccine acceptance.