President Joe Biden's administration, as well as state leaders across the nation, are imploring the public to take the vaccines proven to be safe and effective against the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans.
Astonishingly, right-wing lawmakers and media personalities are actively working against that effort, promoting baseless conspiracy theories and disinformation to millions of conservatives, designed to dissuade them from potentially saving their own lives.
According to the Tennessean, which reviewed internal documents, that disinformation has taken root in Tennessee, where the state's Department of Health has halted all youth vaccine outreach programs for every disease—a response to pressure from GOP state lawmakers. The development comes as cases are tripling in the Volunteer State.
The Department also won't send out reminders for half-vaccinated teens to receive their second dose.
The Tennessean also reports that Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the state's top vaccination official, after she faced harsh criticism from state Republicans for her outreach program, including a legal pathway for vaccinating teenagers above the age of 14 without parental consent.
Fiscus blamed this criticism as the impetus for her removal:
"It was my job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19. I have now been terminated for doing exactly that."
It was the latest instance of the right's continued bulwark against the national effort to obliterate a pandemic that's upended daily life in the United States for over a year.
People were horrified to see it.
I am old enough to remember when childhood diseases - now controlled by vaccines - terrorized families, wreaking pa… https://t.co/GnIGrn6gpy— Dan Rather (@Dan Rather) 1626211261.0
They sacrificed their children to the idols. - Psalm 106 https://t.co/REtwZGgh8Y— Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis (she/her) (@Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis (she/her)) 1626211132.0
I don’t know about you, but I’m pro-vaccines and anti-COVID, anti-flu, anti-HPV ... well, really anti-diseases kill… https://t.co/gUqb0IG99j— Adam Schiff (@Adam Schiff) 1626278002.0
If you needed further proof (and I don’t know why) that Ronna & the GOP don’t give a damn about you & your family….… https://t.co/rniRuKObsc— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair) 1626268617.0
We are in dangerous times. This is not a healthy society. https://t.co/LXxGX0mp5H— Ida Bae Wells (@Ida Bae Wells) 1626210087.0
I don't even know where to begin with how monstrous this is. https://t.co/RoGjquyBIq— Winn Periyasamy (அசுவினி, she/they) 🦾🧸 (@Winn Periyasamy (அசுவினி, she/they) 🦾🧸) 1626232825.0
They're warning that the decision will have devastating impacts.
When this leads to an uptick in preventable infectious disease, people who have means will leave TN. Those who are… https://t.co/h6kRCRp7Pq— Stella Safo, MD MPH (@Stella Safo, MD MPH) 1626278706.0
Halting vaccine outreach - including not reminding teens to return for their second #covid19 shot - is horrifying a… https://t.co/aivh7PWfzF— Chelsea Clinton (@Chelsea Clinton) 1626207481.0
The end result of this is to hurt and kill poor people. It’s economic warfare of the most evil sort. When I say t… https://t.co/tK4KADICom— stuart stevens (@stuart stevens) 1626289712.0
Hard to overstate the long-term public health consequences of one of the two major parties turning anti-vaxx out of… https://t.co/qvsBr1DKY9— Matt Ford (@Matt Ford) 1626211919.0
Tennessee ranks 44th in the nation for vaccination rates.