Vaxxing Situation…Squid spent the weekend stocking up on shrimp-flavored popcorn and bloody mary ingredients for the impeachment hearings coming on Wednesday and Friday. (No vodka this time, just lots of Clamato and tomato juice. Squid doesn’t want to miss a word of testimony.) In between shopping trips Squid, noticed on Facebook there are some local folks interested in viewing quite a different kind of testimony on Wednesday evening, Nov. 13, at Lighthouse Cinema in Pacific Grove.

Amid the anti-vaccine furor over Senate Bill 277, State Sen. Richard Pan’s 2015 legislation to eliminate medical exemptions for vaccines, an anti-vax group sprung up in Monterey County. That group, Latinos for Medical Freedom, is led by Carina Powers and Vanessa Madrid. On the website, Powers is described as a Salinas native now living in Monterey, whose father marched with Cesar Chavez. According to their website, the two met at a rally in Santa Cruz against SB 277. 

The women call their efforts “the new civil rights movement,” evoking Chavez and Dolores Huerta and even claim a Biblical mandate: On the group’s website, Madrid writes she was “Called & Chosen for ‘Such a Time As This’ Esther 4:14.” 

On Nov. 13, they are showing the film Vaxxed II; The People’s Truth in P.G. at a private event, with tickets going for $17.50. Squid clicked, and there is a waiting list. The film was initially released on Nov. 6 to secret locations revealed only to advance ticket buyers the day before the showing. The Guardian got a hold of an advance copy, and reports the film is “slickly produced,” and slams it for repeating false claims linking vaccines to autism and other medical conditions, and employs decontextualized photographs of dead babies.

Squid is proud to say Squid got Squid’s flu shot two weeks ago. If Squid had offspring, Squid would would take the Squidlets in for their shots too. The reputable science is in, and there is no link between vaccines and autism. Even scientists are coming around to a new research question, evidenced by a 2018 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Plos One, titled, “The influence of political ideology and trust on willingness to vaccinate.”

Perhaps in addition to free flu shot clinics, public health can make movies and rent out movie theaters—that’s the way to reach a crowd. But as the study found, information only gets through to the people who trust it. Sounds a little bit like the impeachment proceedings; Squid isn’t sure that President Donald Trump’s most diehard supporters will even hear what the testimony has to say.

 

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