Anti-vaxxers are finding fertile ground among anti-lockdown protesters: report

As protests pop up around the country calling for the end to state lockdown orders even as the coronavirus rages, the ideological agendas behind these protests are being exposed, as many of the demonstrations have been found to be orchestrated by various right-wing groups. But another fringe movement has found a home at the demonstrations, namely the nation's anti-vaccine activists, who find common cause with the protesters, many of whom have expressed anti-vaccine sentiments online and on their banners.

According to The Daily Beast, the addition of the anti-vaccine movement to the lockdown protests makes health agencies' work ahead even more complicated.

"Health officials have said that a vaccine for coronavirus is one of, if not the, surest ways to emerge through the crisis and return to a semblance of social normalcy," writes the Beast's Will Sommer. "But that depends on wide-scale cultural acceptance of the vaccination—which optimistically could be 18 months away from production—and the coronavirus pandemic has drawn more online interest to anti-vaccine causes."

According to University of Colorado Denver sociologist Jennifer Reich, much of the rhetoric emanating from lockdown protests echoes the rhetoric of anti-vaccine activists. Reich’s research has found that the rise in unvaccinated children has been the result of two trends: pressure on parents to research every detail of the choices available to their children; and the idea that individuals themselves are better equipped to handle their own health choices.

As anti-vaccine parents anticipate a coronavirus vaccine and claim they can best handle the decision to vaccinate their children, the lockdown protesters have declared themselves the best judges as to whether or not they can go out in public and risk infecting themselves or others, and it's a dangerous combination.

Read more at The Daily Beast.