Far-Right Extremists Are Trying To Stop The US Vaccine Effort
Far-right extremists in the US are trying to convince people not to receive vaccines for COVID-19.
Across the country, there’s been more than 30.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 548,000 deaths. Since coming to power in the wake of Donald Trump’s lackadaisical pandemic response, President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9 trillion relief bill and recently set a goal of 200 million shots in his first 100 days.
However, at the opposite side of the political spectrum, far-right supporters and groups have moved on from overturning the election result to halting vaccine distribution and uptake.
Devin Burghart, head of the far-right tracking Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, made specific note of the efforts of QAnon followers, telling The New York Times, ‘They rode the shift in the national conversation away from Trump to what was happening with the massive ramp up in vaccines.’
He added, ‘It allowed them to pivot away from the failure of their previous prophecy to focus on something else.’
There have been recent reports regarding blood clot concerns connected to vaccines, which have been disproven by UK and EU regulators after a ‘thorough and careful review’ – however, it’s been one of a number of tools used by extremists to paint a false picture around receiving a jab.
This has led to headlines and videos with titles like ‘COVID-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race’ and ‘Doctors and Nurses Giving the COVID-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals’, the publication wrote.
Among several baseless, alarmist messages on Telegram, one read, ‘If less people get vaccinated then the system will have to use more aggressive force on the rest of us to make us get the shot.’
Melissa Ryan, chief executive of disinformation research firm Card Strategies, explained, ‘The last year with COVID has just been a perfect storm that whatever your crazy conspiracy belief is, there is someone who has a COVID conspiracy to match it.’
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