Vaccine rejectionism takes hold as a Republican litmus test

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Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who at the latest CPAC event undermined the government's COVID vaccine outreach programs. Credit: David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who at the latest CPAC event undermined the government's COVID vaccine outreach programs. Credit: David Zalubowski/AP

What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether.

The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump.

Appearing at CPAC, Republican lawmakers such as Reps. Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.) took aim at Biden’s push for “door-to-door” vaccine outreach, framing efforts to boost inoculations as a creeping menace from big government.

“We’re here to tell government: We don’t want your benefits, we don’t want your welfare, don’t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ouchie,” Boebert said.

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“We always ask, what will be the last straw? What will be the moment that we lose the ability to communicate and cooperate and get things done?…Well, we’ve reached it. This is it,” [said GOP pollster Frank Luntz].

He added: “Now, decisions are being made not because of evidence or facts or statistics, but strictly on political lines. And now people are going to die.”

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