Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp trended on Twitter Saturday afternoon after word spread of his fixation on a nonexistent AIDS vaccine to justify his opposition to vaccine mandates. A recent report from Atlanta’s WSB-TV found that COVID-19 deaths have increased nearly 1,000 percent since Aug. 1. (Read the full report here).
Failing to lead the statewide response to a public health crisis is not enough.
In repeated statements, he claims the AIDS vaccine mandate failed. Atlanta’s 11 Alive recently fact-checked Kemp, noting he first made a claim in September 2020 and repeated the false claim twice in the past month. (Read more from 11 Alive here).
Again, there is no such thing as an AIDS vaccine. There’s not even a mandate for PrEP, the prescription drug that has been a game-changer in preventing the spread of HIV.
Setting aside his referencing of a nonexistent vaccine and mandate, Kemp leads a state that already mandates vaccines. Georgia requires vaccinations for every child who attends a facility outside of their own home. This includes private and publicly operated facilities. And the form has to be updated and on file through the 12th grade.
Beyond college, the University System of Georgia requires students born in 1957 or later to show documentation of vaccinations or proof of naturally acquired immunity. And proof of immunity is a sworn statement from a parent or pediatrician. The state requires “laboratory/serologic evidence of immunity.”
Kemp, who is up for re-election in 2022, could be trying to appease the anti-vaccine mandate portion of the electorate. Last week, Kemp vowed to “pursue every legal option available” to fight the Biden Administration’s recently announced federal vaccine requirements. Metro Atlanta Attorney Gerald Griggs checked Kemp with the legal authority supporting the move.
As outraged as Kemp claims to be at Democrats politicizing public health, it’s exactly what he’s been doing since the pandemic started. Rushing to prove his allyship to the former President, Kemp has made countless hasty decisions concerning re-opening the state and fighting mask mandates.
While the state’s vaccine rate has increased some due to the delta variant spike, areas around the state still lag.
Now, this wouldn’t be the first time Kemp has spread disinformation. Kemp made a name for himself, purging voters under the guise of combatting virtually non-existent voter fraud and cleaning the rolls. A 2019 investigation found tens of thousands of voters who were not inactive as Kemp claimed and were unable to vote because of his heavy-handed tactics. (Read the full investigation here).
It just goes to show one doesn’t have to be a criminal mastermind to strong-arm their way into the governor’s mansion.