Travis McAdam is an expert on extremism and white nationalism at the Montana Human Rights Network. Travis McAdam searches local newspapers and social media content that may be extremist. Along with it, Travis receives reports from community members about the threat.
Some of the reports show details about protests gathering around a public health officer’s residence. Some others show aggressive voicemails, emails, and messages sent to health officials.
Local Health Officials Fear Threats As The US Plans To Release Vaccines
Travis is studying threats of violence against the public health officers in Montana and northern Idaho. The studies have been revealing surprising results.
The United States has been facing the issue of threats against public health care officials since the beginning of the pandemic. This has now even become a nationwide problem in the United States.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and several other local healthcare officials have reported that they have received death threats.
Barbara Ferrer, the director of Los Angeles County’s Public health, reported that last year in March, she received hate mails and threats.
There are many similar instances, Lauri Jones, the director of the Okanogan County Community in Washington state, said that she had to get a new security system installed and has requested police patrol around her residence. She had to take this step as she was receiving continuous online threats.
Reports also suggest that some of the threats against the public health officials have arrived from people having a connection with far-right extremist groups. The situation is even more worrisome now. Officials fear that with the release of the Covid-19 vaccine, the threats against the officials may rise significantly.
Travis McAdam believes that the threats and harassment against health officials may spike again with upcoming nationwide efforts to vaccinate young children.
While talking to CNN, Travis said, ” during the pandemic, whenever there is any advancement, the potential of threats and harassment of the healthcare officials increases.”
The United States Food and Drug Administration may soon authorize Pfizer BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. With the green flag from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Covid-19 vaccine for young children may be administered next week.
On the one hand, public health officials are trying and planning to provide vaccines to the younger generation. But they are more prone to criticism than appreciation as their probability of receiving threats from the “anti-vaccine” citizens increases.
A senior staff attorney at the Network for Public Health Law, Brooke Torton, expressed his discomfort and said, ” it is unfortunate but true that such a situation may arise.” He also said through an email that he anticipates that the harassment may only increase once the Covid-19 vaccine is available for younger children.
Torton also openly said that receiving threats to public health officials is expected due to the widespread misinformation among American citizens. He also says that there may be outrage among parents due to the vaccine mandates.