Antivaxxers were once part of a fringe extremist view in the UK and around the world, but their cross over to the mainstream is likely to outlast the pandemic and COVID-19 related restrictions. In an interview for the Independent, Milo Comerford and Jacob Davey both speak on these lasting effects, and how the pandemic has united people from across the political spectrum in antivaxx, anti-government and conspiratorial stances.
“No one is under the illusion that this is going to be solved by the dropping of restrictions […]. For some people, life will go on and as things go back to normal, some of those fellow travellers will go back into the woodwork,” Milo said.
Jacob added that these groups share a common “suspicion of the establishment and an affinity with conspiracy theories.”
“Not everyone who is concerned about lockdown or restrictions is an extremist or a hardened conspiracy theorist but what we’ve seen consistently is this coming together of quite loose communities, which manage to bridge the gap between extremist movements on the right, established conspiracy theorist movements and the anti-vax community, and the left,” he said.
As these groups draw on each other in methods, language and narratives, real-world effects like threats and intimidation towards healthcare workers and volunteers who administer jabs are likely to continue.