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Update: Scott Jensen's campaign spokesman says that Jensen will not be speaking at the Oct. 1 event, despite being listed as a guest speaker, as he has a family wedding to attend that day. This story has been update to reflect this. Bring Me The News has reached out for further details.

Dr. Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, is listed among the guest speakers at an event in Alexandria that features a number of prominent anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.

Jensen is listed as a speaker at the 2022 Global Health Freedom Summit, which says it can help attendees "legally protect yourself from forced vaccinations, mask mandates, and other forms of medical tyranny."

However, Jensen's campaign has told Bring Me The News that Jensen will actually not be speaking at the event as he has a family wedding the same day.

When asked if he'll be requesting his name be removed from the event listing given he will not be attending, his spokesman said: "As you can imagine, we don't have any connection to their promotional side. So, I don't know what their plan is. You'd have to talk with them directly."

Bring Me The News has reached out to the team behind the Global Health Freedom Summit website.

Among the speakers at this year's event is Eden Prairie doctor Robert Zajac, who reprimanded by the state medical board for encouraging parents not to let their kids have the standard early childhood vaccinations.

Other speakers, as first reported by the Minnesota Reformer, include an Ohio osteopath who claimed COVID vaccines could magnetize people, a New York pediatrician who has suggested COVID vaccines impact women's menstrual cycles, and Del Bigtree, who has likened COVID vaccine mandates to the persecution of Jewish people by the Nazis, and on whose anti-vaccine podcast Jensen has appeared.

Jensen appeared at the event last year, and in his speech he touted the at-the-time unproven (and which has since been confirmed as unproven) COVID treatments ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, the use of which was pushed by prominent right-wingers and former President Donald Trump.

He also encouraged audience members to back his gubernatorial campaign, a role he described as a "part-time job" and "only 60 hours a week," that would allow him to "get a lot done" then "head back to Watertown, Minnesota" after four years.

In 2020, Jensen joined several of the same speakers – including Zajac and Bigtree – at what appears to be a very similar event under a different name, "Wellness My Way," in Alexandria, as reported by Blue Stem Prairie. Information about this year's Global Health Freedom Summit is on the website.

Jensen, who is the president of Catalyst Medical Clinic in Waconia, has focused a significant part of his campaign attacking Gov. Tim Walz for the COVID business and school shutdowns of 2020, but has himself spent much of the pandemic getting attention for his skepticism over the severity of COVID-19 and his links to prominent anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.

Jensen's rise tied to skepticism over COVID

Jensen's profile within the Republican Party has grown since the onset of the pandemic, initially gaining prominence for suggesting, without evidence, that COVID-19 death numbers were being inflated in Minnesota. Early in the pandemic he likened COVID-19 – which has killed more than 13,400 Minnesotans – to the flu, and called it a "mild" respiratory virus.

Describing himself as an "outspoken skeptic" regarding COVID-19, Jensen is not vaccinated against the virus, previously stating that he would rely on the immunity he has built up from an early case of COVID. He denies being anti-vaccine, but has said he does not recommend the COVID shot to about a third of his patients. 

His running mate, Matt Birk, has also stated that he would not get the vaccine. Statistics have since shown that those vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 are significantly less likely to die from the virus compared to someone unvaccinated.

In May 2021, Jensen was briefly included in a lawsuit seeking to block vaccines for 12-15 year olds, which was filed by America's Frontline Doctors and led by Simone Gold, who was subsequently arrested during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In the event he's elected as governor, he's vowed to shake up the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, which has investigated him five times after complaints were made regarding some of the comments he's made regarding the virus.

He stirred controversy again last month when he likened the statewide face mask mandate to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, drawing rebuke from Democrats and Jewish organizations.

This was brought up during an appearance on Joe Soucheray's "Garage Logic" at the State Fair this week, when the conservative columnist admonished Jensen and his running mate Matt Birk for the Nazi comparison, as well as Birk for some of the comments he's made regarding abortion, suggesting that they are undermining their shot at beating Gov. Tim Walz in November.

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