ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — Eric Turmail lives in Grand Center in St. Louis City and woke up this morning to a brown paper bag on his doorstep. When he looked inside he found a guide to going vegan, a DVD called “Vaccine Nation: Hidden Truth” and flyers filled with anti-vaccine propaganda.
“Just a disappointing bag of conspiracy theories and misleading information, fearmongering to pass out to a bunch of people,” said Turmail.
Some of the more concerning flyers have quotes like “Vaccines = Poison” and some are targeted directly to the African American community with flyers that say “Black People. Why are you so eager to commit slow voluntary suicide by chemical injection?”
Also in the bag was a business card for Dr. Keith Lawrence. According to the card it says he is a Certified Natural Health Practitioner for Gems Natural Health Center.
When we reached him by phone he said he dropped off dozens of these bags. “I’m not an antivaxxer but I am anti-ignorance and anti-lack of information,” said Lawrence.
But public health officials like Amy Yeager with the Madison County Health Department say this kind of propaganda can do real damage. “It’s concerning to me because people don’t know who to trust anymore,” said Yeager.
As they work to vaccinate the public, they know they are fighting not only vaccine hesitancy and vaccine complacency. They are finding people still don’t know they are eligible or where to go to get the vaccine. And whether it’s a flyer on a doorstep or social media posts, there is a lot of misinformation.
“It slows down our ability as public health professionals to get as many people in the community vaccinated or at least informed,” said Yeager.
There’s very little information online on who exactly Dr. Keith Lawrence is. He says he wanted to grab people’s attention. “It’s like advertising, you get people’s attention and they want to find out more,” he said over the phone.
But Turmail says the worrisome and it’s why he threw the bag on his doorstep right in the trash. “We have someone trying to promote their business through endangering others I think,” said Turmail.
Public health officials say the best advice is to know your sources. Look for trusted information on vaccines or any medical information.
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