Republican Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio is a great example of what the GOP is today. He has found himself in the unenviable position of trying to offer up the bare minimum of public health policy, something that in previous election cycles would not have been considered a partisan issue, in a political climate fraught with the anti-critical thinking fallout of decades of GOP misinformation. His Vax-a-Million program launched in the last weeks of May, in the hopes of using our country’s income inequality desperation to ‘lotterize’ public health—promising those who go and get vaccinated against COVID-19 chances to win million-dollar prizes. One of the problems DeWine and other officials are facing is that some of the hundreds of thousands of vaccine reserves they have are set to expire in the next few weeks, and if arms are not found, they will go to waste.
The other, more pressing problem for Americans in general (and Republican officials like DeWine specifically) is that there is a solid anti-vaccine sentiment that has turned politically toxic among his Republican constituents. This has somehow led to more craven conservative politicians using public health measures as a way to clamber up the GOP ranks. And while Gov. DeWine has attempted to get the Buckeye State’s lagging vaccination numbers up, even pointing out how places like churches can be unsafe if its attendees are unvaccinated, his fellow Republican legislators in Ohio have been working with anti-vaxx groups to turn vaccine mistrust into an all-out public health disaster.
ArsTechnica reports that GOP lawmakers in Ohio have been trying to get legislation through that would end the lottery campaign immediately. They have also introduced legislation that would end all vaccination requirements in the state—not simply any possible COVID-19 vaccination requirements that might come out in the future.
House Bill 248, introduced last month by Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester), would allow anyone to decline any vaccine with a simple verbal declaration based on “reasons of conscience.”
Ohio already has very loose vaccination requirements for school exemptions. All a parent needs to do is write out a statement that says they don’t want have their child vaccinated for “reasons of conscience.” But they do have to provide a written statement. Not good enough, apparently! However, the more insidious piece of anti-public health legislation in Rep. Gross’s bill is that “universities and day cares could no longer require students to have vaccinations.” Also, “businesses would not be able ask unvaccinated employees, customers, or clients to wear masks or take other measures to prevent the spread of disease—even if there were high-risk individuals present, like cancer survivors and people who have compromised immune systems.”
This is the context of Republicans in Ohio, allowing people like Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, an Ohio-licensed physician, a chance to utter this statement in a public forum:
"I'm sure you've seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they're magnetized," Tenpenny, of Middleburg Heights in Cuyahoga County, said. "You can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. You can put spoons and forks all over and they can stick because now we think there is a metal piece to that."
Don’t believe it?
There’s an “interface.” Magnetized? Tenpenny has written a series of anti-vaccine books from 2003 through 2008, including Saying No to Vaccines: A Resource Guide for All Ages. Well, luckily someone came in to give a real-life demonstration of why we need to be leery of these vaccines.
The joke was left in because I don’t want to begin crying about how we are all flying into the sun. Dr. Tenpenny testified as to her expertise on the matter for 45 minutes. The CDC published this announcement on the United States’ official government page on June 3.
Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?
No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys, as well as any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, and nanowire semiconductors. In addition, the typical dose for a COVID-19 vaccine is less than a milliliter, which is not enough to allow magnets to be attracted to your vaccination site even if the vaccine was filled with a magnetic metal.
Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.
Here’s a 10-minute video from Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson, where he goes through Dr. Tenpenny’s wildly inaccurate statements about COVID-19 and the vaccinations created to fight it.
Politically, Gov. DeWine is as conservative as it gets, supporting misogynistic policies like “personhood amendments on abortion” and promoting all of the fascistic voter suppression legislation that one would expect from a Republican politician. His right-wing bonafides match up with grotesque figures like former Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio. Of course, Jim Renacci is truly willing to do and say anything in the hopes of achieving power, including running against DeWine on a platform that promotes anti-vaccine sentiment while also attacking public health measures for being anti-business. It’s all standard GOP stuff.