Right wing disinformation outlets continue to peddle conspiracy theories regarding vaccines, whose safety and effectiveness have been proven to prevent the spread of the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans and upended daily life in the United States for more than a year.
From Fox News to Newsmax to One America News, far-right media personalities have claimed the vaccine is "against nature," that it doesn't actually work, and that efforts to get more Americans vaccinated are on par with Nazi and Jim Crow-era atrocities.
Former President Donald Trump could wield his continued near-universal acclaim within the Republican Party to stop this. Trump, who was vaccinated privately this past January, has urged his supporters to take the vaccine, but has done little to combat the escalation of vaccine conspiracy theories foisted on the American people in recent weeks. In fact, he's even promoted lies about the vaccines he credits himself with facilitating.
In an erratic statement from this past weekend, Trump associated public trust of the vaccine with public trust—or lack thereof—in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which Trump continues to falsely claim was "stolen."
The statement read in part:
"[Biden]'s not doing well at all. He's way behind schedule, and people are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don't trust his Administration, they don't trust the Election results, and they certainly don't trust the Fake News, which is refusing to tell the truth."
Trump has frequently endorsed distrust of Biden, the election, and the media. Associating distrust of these entities with distrust of vaccines was seen by many as an endorsement of vaccine hesitancy rooted in conspiracy theories.
It was a statement that critics said could be deadly.
Social media users skewered Trump's statement.
The anti-vaccine hysteria continues.