Anti-Vax Groups Continue to Make Legislative Strides Against COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative
Anti-vaccine folks may often be a joke to those of us on the left, but it is important to remember that they are organized and have been making strides for their dubious cause in this country.
Politico reports that there are “mostly Republican lawmakers in nearly 40 states backing bills to restrict Covid-19 vaccine mandates or vaccine passports”:
The wave of opposition to Covid-19 shots, and efforts to curb public-health authorities more generally, have alarmed health experts. They say the new legislation will make it harder to quell the pandemic and prevent future outbreaks of Covid-19 and other illnesses. Many families now emerging from isolation have delayed routine immunizations during the pandemic, and two dozen states have dispensed Covid-19 shots to fewer than 50 percent of eligible residents.
Yet, despite these statistics, the world keeps opening up. People are flying again, going out to brunch, and we are supposed to, in many ways, have faith in our fellow man to do something for the common good. But that’s clearly not what is happening.
The feelings for this anti-vaccine mentality are not just Republica- based. In the beginning, news focused on Orthodox Jews in New Jersey and New York, and Somali immigrants in Minnesota, not wanting to get the vaccine, but because of Donald Trump and an already anti-vax fever that has been fostered in the United States, it is spreading. Per Politico,
“We’re very concerned about that because it really undermines everything we do,” said Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “And things I think the public take for granted for safety” — such as health departments’ ability to react quickly to outbreaks of food- and waterborne-illnesses — “are not going to be so safe anymore.”
Rooted at the heart of the anti-vax movement are bad science, capitalism, and the fears and anxieties of the average person. (There is an excellent hbomberguy video on this topic). I understand why, considering there is a valid history of medical error, people would be concerned. The Black community is well aware of the ways in which we have been guinea pigs for science. Anyone who watched Call the Midwife is familiar with the Thalidomide scandal of the ’50s and ’60s that left “more than 10,000 children born” with a range of disabilities, “as well as thousands of miscarriages.”
Science is imperfect, but in the decades since then, medical scientists have worked to ensure they do not keep making these mistakes. With COVID-19 a global pandemic that has led to 3.81M deaths worldwide, the stakes are high for them, as well.
Skepticism and hesitancy, those I can understand, but it also means doing the kind of research to inform yourself rather than just allowing yourself to sit in fear because that is comfortable.
Plus, the political element has only served to make this even more of an issue, with reports that have “88 percent of Democrats polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation saying they already have or are planning to get the shot, compared with 50 percent of Republicans. Meanwhile, 27 percent of Republicans say they ‘definitely’ won’t get it, compared with 3 percent of Democrats.”
Erica DeWald, director of strategic communications and partnerships at Vaccinate Your Family, says that part of the reason the anti-vaccine movement has grown was being able to tackle unpopular things like the “promotion of masks and social distancing.”
“This is the first time that they’ve been able to attach themselves to an issue that has successfully passed,” DeWald said of anti-vaxxers’ pandemic-related efforts.
If this continues, if a solid half of the country doesn’t want to be vaccinated (while their political leaders do get vaccinated while stoking partisan fear), there is no “getting back to normal” because COVID will continue to linger among us along with its variants.
(via Politico, image: Mark Kegans/Getty Images)
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