On Saturday, The Times of Israel reported that Camp Hikon, a planned Orthodox Jewish summer camp in upstate New York, has stated its plans to bar vaccinated children or counselors from the facility — and that their website is laden with conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19.
Advertisements for Camp Hikon, planned for upstate New York, appeared on email listservs popular in the Orthodox Jewish community just days after a private school in Miami made news for discouraging teachers from getting the vaccine and telling children they were not to have contact with vaccinated people,” reported Shira Hanau. “The camp’s announcement also comes as posters encouraging people not to get the COVID-19 vaccines appeared in Midwood, Brooklyn, the Orthodox neighborhood where one member of the founding team runs a natural foods store.”
According to the report, the camp is a project of Brooklyn “health coach” Naftali Schwartz, who has “no formal training in medicine or public health.”
“Drawing on a debunked theory spread by the anti-vaccination movement, the camp’s website cites the ‘experimental nature’ of the COVID-19 vaccines,” said the report. “According to the false theory, living in close quarters with vaccinated people could ‘enhance’ the spread of the coronavirus. The website refers readers to a site called NutriTruth which claims vaccines are a ‘biological weapon,’ and to a livestreamed discussion between several notable anti-vaxxers.”
As of Saturday, no families have yet signed up their children for Camp Hikon.
Conservative religious groups have drawn national attention for their distrust of vaccines, as the effort to immunize the population from the coronavirus pandemic has revved up. Some right-wing religious leaders have even denied the existence of the pandemic itself. In evangelical circles, televangelist John Hagee proclaimed that “Jesus is the vaccine” — a claim that was roundly mocked after it was revealed he got the vaccine himself.
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The Pandemic Will Rage on Longer Because Republican Men and White Evangelical Christians Refuse to Get Vaccinated
Ever since the start of the pandemic Americans have been asking each other, “When there’s a vaccine are you going to take it?” At first many were wary because Donald Trump was president and not many felt he could be trusted to not push the FDA to approve the vaccine to get re-elected. And in fact, he came close, promising Americans it would be available in October. (His Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said September.)
In response many mocked those who were vaccine hesitant, saying they would be risking death. The real story there was because of how the virus spreads, they wouldn’t only risking death, they would potentially be helping to spread it.
But now that 100 million Americans have received their first coronavirus vaccine shot, more than 2 million shots a day are being given, and as of May 1 all adult Americans will be eligible to get vaccinated, “herd immunity” isn’t too far away.
Or is it?
Soon those who are refusing to take the vaccine will be hurting only themselves, or their like-minded anti-science anti-vaxx friends and family members.
And who are these anti-science anti-vaxxers?
A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll has the answers.
A few highlights:
One out of two (49%) Republican men say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
Nearly one out of two (47%) Trump supporters say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
One out of three (34%) Republican women say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
Overall, four out of 10 (41%) of Republicans say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine. (By comparison, just 11% of Democrats say they will not take the vaccine.)
Just over one out of three (37%) Latinos say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
Four out of 10 (40%) of white men who are not college graduates say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
Nearly four out of 10 (38%) of white Evangelical Christians say they will not take the coronavirus vaccine.
Overall, three out of 10 (30%) of American adults still say no to the vaccine. That number is slowly dropping. In September it was 44%. In January it was 31%. It needs to come down, and much faster.
The poll does not ask if participants are mask wearers.
Image via Shutterstock
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