For a convention in Wisconsin Dells that sold out, participants traveled from all over the country to hear conspiracy theories and misinformation about vaccines. Anti-vaccine activist, who was featured in "Plandemic", a 2020 movie that promoted false COVID-19 stories. Session after session was filled with false claims about vaccines and mask-wearing's health hazards.
The convention was organized and hosted by chiropractors, a profession that has been a major source of misinformation about vaccines during the pandemic.
A time when the surgeon general is warning that misinformation is a grave threat to public health, The Associated Press investigated and found that a group of influential chiropractors have been profiting from the pandemic by spreading fear and mistrust about vaccines.
The AP found that they have promoted their supplements as alternative to vaccines, wrote doctor's notes to help patients get out of immunization mandates and donated large amounts of money to antivaccine organizations. They also sold anti-vaccine advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. A chiropractor donated thousands of dollars to a Super PAC, which hosted an anti-vaccine rally for Donald Trump near the U.S. Capitol in January 6.
They are also responsible for anti-vaccine events such as the one in Wisconsin where hundreds of chiropractic professionals paid $299 or more to participate. According to the AP, chiropractors could earn continuing education credits in order to keep their licenses valid in at least 10 states.
Public health advocates are concerned by the number chiropractors who have joined the anti-vaccine movement. They used their public visibility and medical expertise to hinder the nation's response against a COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed more than 700,000.
They are trusted by people. They trust their authority but also feel that they are a nice alternative for traditional medicine," Erica DeWald, of Vaccinate Your Family who tracks figures in anti-vaccine movements, said. "Mainstream medicine will refer people to a chiropractor without knowing that they might be exposed to misinformation. Your back hurts and you decide to go. Then suddenly, you are not ready to vaccinate your children.
A small minority of the country's 70,000 chiropractors are proponents of vaccine misinformation. Some chiropractors have been allowed to administer COVID-19 shots or helped to organize vaccine clinics.