‘They can be executed:’ anti-vaxxer threatens pharmacists

A US man reportedly abused pharmacists live on Facebook and threatened them with execution if they continued vaccinating

US media including the Springfield News-Leader, which originally reported the incident this week, and the Washington Post have covered the behaviour of a man who allegedly used his online identity as the “vaccine police” to harass pharmacists.

Alabama man Christopher Key – an entrepreneur with the controversial two-man sports supplements business Sports With Alternatives to Steroids, which reportedly provided “deer antler spray” as an injury remedy – attended an anti-vaccine protest outside a hospital in Springfield, Missouri last week.

Remaining in Springfield, he has since visited a number of pharmacies to protest vaccination against COVID-19.

According to the News-Leader, he went to the pharmacy at the Walmart Supercenter west of Springfield and told workers there that he was putting them, “on notice”.

First, he and followers prayed in the parking lot, with Mr Key saying he aimed to “put the fear of God in these pharmacists”.

Pharmacy staff retreated to the dispensary, locked the door and closed the window to keep Mr Key and about half a dozen followers out.

“You are being put on notice!” Mr Key told them. “And if they give one more vaccine, as of this day after being put on notice, then they can be hung up. And they can be executed.”

He and his followers, still streaming live on Facebook, continued to abuse the pharmacists from outside the door for about half an hour.

“What they’re doing here is they’re violating the Nuremberg Code, and if you allow one more shot to go into one more person’s body, you yourself can be executed,” he said.

“I do this out of love, I’m not trying to give you any fear and intimidation — I’m just letting you guys know that if you continue to do this, that you guys will be held accountable.”

He claimed he was attempting to prevent the pharmacists being executed in a manner similar to pharmacists and doctors who had worked with the Nazi regime during the 1930s and 40s.

Mr Key repeated unsupported claims that 45,000 people had died within three days of being given a COVID-19 vaccination.

He also tried to convince staff that there was “no package insert” and that the labelling on vaccines was “left intentionally blank,” which he said invalidated their validity—though as News-Leader reporter Andrew Sullender points out, the J&J vaccine’s packaging is mostly blank, using a QR code to direct patients to the most up-to-date information about it.

He reportedly told attending police that he and his followers had come to the store to be vaccinated, but been turned away.

The Washington Post alleges that Mr Key has made similar claims and threats at other pharmacies in the Springfield area, later visiting a Walgreens and a CVS.

The Post’s Jaclyn Peiser notes Missouri’s high death rate from COVID-19 and low vaccination rate (around 51% fully vaccinated).

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  1. Ai Nguyen

    He should be arrested and put into jails. Because of him, lots of people are not vaccinated and die of Covid.

  2. FakeMoralOutrage

    I have just finished watching the news footage of the freedom rallies and one very important question has arisen; that being the safety of pharmacy staff now that COVID vaccines are to be administered through community pharmacy.

    The ideological basis of the freedom rallies may possibly originate from the financial anxieties and emotional frustrations of repeated lockdowns but it seems that this has been hijacked by a disparate set of protesters for the sake of peddling their own agendas. The degree of violence experienced by police officers is a shocking warning to healthcare staff in general, especially those involved in the vaccine rollout and it worries me greatly that a similar incident here in Australia may not be too far in the offing.

    From what I have seen, the assembled protesters are a varied group comprising of anti-government dissidents, anti-vaxxers, perhaps some far-right Trumpists and oddly enough, some people with a religious (apparently Christian) view of things. How soon will it be before we throw in some xenophobia and misogyny into the mix, if they are not already present ?

    It still escapes me as to why the Naval Ensign is being used as the modern day Eureka flag and even more so that it is being flown upside down – an unofficial signal of a country (or perhaps a Navy ?) in distress.

    Whatever the composition of these rallies may be, it is clear that violence is a key tenet of their argument and community pharmacy as a whole should just stop for a moment and evaluate the safety risks before raising its hand to be on the front line of the vaccine rollout.

    I have spent a bit more time on the planet than most others on this forum to be able to recall the protests, assaults and murders committed against abortion clinics in America, often using religion as a moral basis and dread to think that pharmacy staff may be at risk of such events.

    Right or wrong, community pharmacy has always tried to illustrate its role and relevance by being amongst the “first responders” by involving itself in just about every aspect of primary healthcare. Whether its the usual issues (diabetes, asthma, MedsChecks etc etc) and now, COVID vaccinations, community pharmacy is in a desperate, existential struggle to show that it isn’t becoming a price-driven race to the bottom and the safety of its workers, now more than ever, cannot be overlooked.

    It is well known that pharmacy is one of the lowest paying professions around and that the bulk of pharmacy staff are female. The very thought that young, poorly paid (often female) staff may be attacked by people using COVID as an outlet for their beliefs is utterly terrifying.

    Much has been discussed about the logistics and legalities of the rollout. Perhaps now is the time to investigate the safety of those who are charged with preserving life, but are now somehow being seen as the enemy.

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