Antivaxxers are very active in Texas, and antivaccine groups like Texans for Vaccine Choice have been quite effective in blocking commonsense measures and legislation, such as legislation that would have required school-level reporting of vaccine exemption rates so that parents interested in not sending their children to a school with high exemption rates could choose. No, Texans for Vaccine Choice isn’t really about choice; it’s just against vaccines.
Well, spineless major antivaccine groups like the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) (shades of Badger’s Law here: don’t peruse the NVIC site if you actually seek information) know to exploit the situation in Texas. For instance, in connection with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, antivaccine advocates Rebecca Rex and Dawn Richardson jumped in with the post “Texas Parents: Know Your Vaccine Choice Rights During Hurricane Harvey Flood Emergency” (discussed here) encouraging antivaccine parents to take advantage of the disaster to “stand up for their right” not to vaccinate their children and to wreak havoc in general, for instance by urging parents to take advantage of a law designed for what is normally a small number of homeless children to be enrolled in school immediately, to enroll their own children without the requirement for documentation of vaccine status.
Rex and Richardson are the founders of PROVE – Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education – which does not request vaccine education but that denialist talking points and conspiracy theories be given equal time in discussions of vaccine-related issues. Here is Rex trying on the Nirvana fallacy. Richardson, meanwhile, is also the NVIC Director of Advocacy, and has been in the antivaccine game for a while. She must for instance be credited with managing to get a personal belief exemption added to Texas law in 2003, and has been heavily involved in blocking efforts to restrict exemptions in a number of states.
Diagnosis: They seemingly try their hardest to avoid looking like complete and utter loons. They fail. But they have already been frighteningly successful in blocking efforts that would actually save lives, so it’s not just a matter of laughs.