In response to a Hotez tweet that the latest increase in vaccine exemptions in Texas shows its children have been “placed in harm’s way for the financial gain of special and outside interest groups,” Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, let loose.
“You are bought and paid for by the biggest special interest in politics,” tweeted Stickland. “Do our state a favor and mind your own business. Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching ‘science.’”
When Hotez replied that he doesn’t take a dime from the vaccine industry and that as a Texas pediatrician-scientist who develops neglected disease vaccines for the world's poorest people, it is “most certainly my business,” Stickland dug in even deeper.
“Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime,” tweeted Stickland. “Like every other business. Quit using the heavy hand of government to make your business profitable through mandates and immunity. It’s disgusting.”
Hotez, a Baylor College of Medicine professor of infectious disease, bowed out at that point. But Stickland continued the onslaught with others happy to engage the fight. In a span of an hour, he tweeted that vaccines are “dangerous,” that a doctor concerned about the child’s vulnerability to disease is a “brainwashed commie” and that a defender of science is a “typical leftist trying to take credit for something only The Lord God Almighty is in control of.”
The twitter tussle was triggered by a Houston Chronicle story reporting on the latest and continuing increase in the number of Texans vaccine exemptions by parents claiming a conscientious objection to the state requirement.