‘Vaccine refusal has always been a place where left meets right’: Deconstructing the politics of the pandemic vaccine response

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Credit: FiveThirtyEight/Getty Images
Credit: FiveThirtyEight/Getty Images

The modern anti-vaccination movement in America has often been associated with a stereotype of left-wing, coastal, white, wealthy moms — those “crunchy granola” types. In recent years, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, spurred by low vaccination rates in children, emerged in wealthy, liberal places like Marin County, California, and Boulder, Colorado. But while the public narrative focused on these left-wing enclaves, they were far from the only regions affected by outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease: Conservative communities of Orthodox Jews, some of whom also reject vaccines, have also seen spikes in cases, for example.

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And polls over the past two decades have consistently found Republicans are just as likely as Democrats to hold vaccine-hesitant views. So while the right-wing resistance to the COVID-19 vaccines may feel like an about-face for who is anti-vax in America, both sides of the political divide were always there — but now one side’s fringe views have slipped into its mainstream. 

“Vaccine refusal has always been a place where left meets right,” said Jennifer Reich, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado and the author of “Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines.” 

This is an excerpt. Read the original post here.

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