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America, we have a problem. The COVID is spreading, largely through a highly contagious variant called Delta, but only 48.3% of the population is vaccinated. More than 600,000 Americans have died. In five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Louisisna—less than 36% are vaccinated.
Despite the resurgence of this deadly disease, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation barring schools and universities from excluding unvaccinated students. The results are predictable: more hospitalizations, more deaths.
GOP legislators say they prefer to wait until the vaccines have received full approval from the Centers for Disease Control. The three in wide use-Moderna, Pzifer, and J&J-were approved on an emergency basis by the CDC and have been highly effective.
The CDC should move swiftly to give full approval to the vaccines and remove this excuse from the vaccine deniers.
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, conservatives ridiculed the vaccines.
From the Washington Post:
“Clearly they were hoping — the government was hoping — that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated,” activist Alex Berenson told the crowd Saturday, seeming to inflate Biden’s target. “And it isn’t happening.”
The crowd clapped and cheered at that failure. What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether.
The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions that the last election was stolen and the assault on the U.S. Capitol was overblown.
Appearing at CPAC, lawmakers like Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) took aim at Biden’s push for “door-to-door” vaccine outreach, framing efforts to boost inoculations as a creeping menace from big government.
I can’t help but remember the national panic over polio in the early 1950s. As an adolescent, I was warned not to to the movies because the headrest on the chair might have polio germs. Children across the nation were terrified of spending their life in an iron lung or being permanently paralyzed (like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was crippled after contracting polio in 1921 at the age of 39) or dying. The biggest year for polio was 1952, when 58,000 were infected with the disease and about 3,000 died.
When Dr. Jonas Salk announced in 1953 that he had developed a polio vaccine, people clamored to be vaccinated. There were no anti-vaxxers. Everyone wanted protection from this deadly disease.
Yet here we are in 2021, after 34,000,000 cases of COVID and 608,000 deaths, and GOP states are passing laws to protect people’s right not to be vaccinated!
Has the country gone mad?