But to anti-vaxxers, including those who joined a recent campaign along Queens Boulevard in their defense, “Truth Heroes” is a better word to describe them.
A recent report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch found that the 12 influencers are part of a group that misleads Americans about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The center wants their considerable and lucrative presence removed from social media, a move social media giants like Facebook have opposed.
The report succeeded in riling up followers of the anti-vaxxers, culminating in “Truth Week” during the early part of April.
Fliers in support of the 12 began appearing on light and traffic poles along Queens Boulevard and at the entrance to the 7 train at 61st Street.
In January a similar leafleting campaign claiming links between autism and vaccines took place along Queens Boulevard.
The most recent posters listed “12 Vaccine Truths” and included a link to a website for those interested in learning more. The website featured a page about the “Good Guys,” a list that included Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the son of the late senator.
Kennedy was kicked off Instagram in February for vaccine misinformation, and runs the Children’s Health Defense, known for its anti-vaccine activism.
Joan Lee, who lives in Big Six Towers, recently received her second dose of the COVID vaccine.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” she said of the campaign.
“I thought it was the right thing to do,” she added of receiving the vaccine. “I know they all have side effects, but I don’t see why everybody wouldn’t do it.”
A neighbor of Lee’s who is in her 50s is refusing to get vaccinated.
“I guess she is one of those anti-vaxxers, but I don’t want to end up on a ventilator,” she said.
She suspects the previous president is the reason why so many are still refusing to take the vaccine.
Another resident of Big Six Towers who refused to give her name said she will not take the vaccine, in part because of a lack of trust in the government and insufficient “analysis.”
“I don’t want to be treated like a guinea pig,” she said.