As cases of the endemic COVID-19 virus continue to rise, locally and nationally, Colorado Rep. Ken DeGraaf (R-Co Springs) is taking to social media to warn people against the use of vaccinations or masks.
“If a pregnant or breastfeeding female is exposed to someone who has had the vax, OR around the time of conception, the pregnancy must be followed through birth, and the evaluated…up to a month after birth,” wrote DeGraaf on a Sept 1 Facebook post that included a video of Allison Williams, the former ESPN reporter fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. “Or, if an unvaxx’d male is exposed to someone vaxx’d, THEN is in contact (inhalation or skin contact) with a female prior to or near the time of conception, then that pregnancy must be followed.”
Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in Colorado since June. “Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing since the end of June, with approximately 107 cases reported daily (the seven-day average as of Aug. 12),” a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told CBS Colorado last month. “Hospitalization rates have remained relatively low throughout the summer. However, a slight uptick is occurring in August. Colorado is experiencing an increase in COVID-19, similar to the country overall, as seen in our hospitalization and sentinel percent positivity data. Thankfully, however, hospitalizations remain low overall.”
Conservative media has been saturated with misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and its risks, with social media campaigns like the “died suddenly” posts and 2022 Stew Peters film that tie unrelated deaths to the COVID-19 vaccine, and misinformation about the impact of the COVID vaccine on fertility or pregnancy.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women to protect the mother from complications of COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Bernadette Albanese, a co-medical director of El Paso County Public Health, in an email.
A New England Journal of Medicine study published in January 2023 focused on people 12 and older in North Carolina’s state vaccine registry data found COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna to be 58.7% effective against hospitalization compared to 25% for the monovalent ones that preceded them, and 61.8% effective against infection compared to 24.9% for the monovalent vaccine. Scientists noted that this study covered a period when Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. were circulating, which suggests the updated vaccine was effective against those strains in addition to the ones it was designed to target.
In addition to vaccines, DeGraaf has also taken to Facebook to warn people against the use of masks. “Kn-95 is a Chinese standard if you’re inclined to trust your respiratory system to a country trying to kill you,” wrote DeGraaf in a Sept. 5 response to a post in the El Paso County Moms for Liberty Facebook Group.
The Centers for Disease Control notes, “Wearing a high-quality mask along with vaccination, self-testing, and physical distancing, helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.”
Moms for Liberty, which has seen success in convincing school districts to opt out of Colorado’s school mental health bill, is already pushing a model resolution for opting school districts out of mask requirements and vaccines. On Aug. 23, Moms for Liberty Chair Darcy Schoening posted:
“NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the D-XX Board of Education commits to full, in-person learning for the 2023-2024 school year and all future school years.
NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Superintendent is to direct the ongoing full in-person learning for all students, and non-compliance with any unconstitutional orders from the Governor or any other agency.
NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that students in D-XX will not be asked by this District to wear masks, to receive the COVID vaccine or any of its ‘boosters,’ to social distance, or to participate in any other COVID theater.
NOW, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that execution of this Resolution is conclusive evidence of the Board’s approval of this action and of the authority granted herein.
Adopted and approved this ____ day of ____________, 2023.”