After ‘Stop the Steal’ went nowhere, except for a brutal attack on our nation’s Capitol Building that left five people dead, numerous people injured, and hundreds of arrests, Wing Nut World has turned their attention to ‘bashing the safety and efficacy of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to try to undermine the government.’
The usual Dregs of Society/far right-wing extremists, including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations have taken to the internet chat rooms “to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like ‘COVID-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race’ or ‘Doctors and Nurses Giving the COVID-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.'”
According to the New York Times article:
Apocalyptic warnings about the vaccine feed into the far-right narrative that the government cannot be trusted, the sentiment also at the root of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The more vaccine opponents succeed in preventing or at least delaying herd immunity, experts noted, the longer it will take for life to return to normal and that will further undermine faith in the government and its institutions.
Across right-wing channels online, certain constant memes have emerged attacking the vaccine, like a cartoon suggesting that what started with mask mandates will end with concentration camps run by FEMA for those who refuse vaccinations.
Numerous channels link to the government website called VAERS, for Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, to energize followers. It had reported 2,216 deaths among people vaccinated for the three months before March 22, with 126 million doses administered. The Covid-19 vaccines in use, like most vaccinations, are considered overwhelmingly safe, but inevitably a small percentage of recipients suffer adverse reactions, some of them severe. The deaths have not been directly linked to the vaccinations.
On Telegram, channels frequented by tens of thousands of QAnon followers are full of videos warning of the dire consequences of taking the vaccine. For example, David Icke, a British serial conspiracy theorist, posted a video called “Murder by Vaccine” saying that it transformed the nature of the human body. (The claims that the vaccines change human DNA are false.)
But, resistance to ‘the shot’ isn’t just a far right, wing nut thing. According to a CBS News Poll conducted earlier this month: ‘Republicans, particularly younger ones, say they are less likely to get vaccinated when eligible. The reason most frequently given is, “It’s still too untested/I’m waiting to see what happens” (selected by 58%). The next most common reason is concern about allergies or side effects (47%), followed by distrust of the government (37%).’
Read more from the link provided above. In the event of a paywall, Yahoo News has the Times article for your viewing pleasure.