July 18, 2021 Editor

Republicans were happy to support vaccine when they could credit Trump, then went on the attack

By  Community last

July 17, 2021

image above: cagle.com

Pen and wash drawing of a colossal octopus [Kraken] by malacologist Pierre Dénys de Montfort, 1801

WN: “Guns and Bibles” (see below)–but nary a drop of authentic spirituality or civility. “Love of [nonwhite] neighbour?” Not a chance! But “In god1 we trust.” What a Kraken! There is not possible the latter absent the former.–the nonwhite Jesus . . . ” Guns and Bibles” tragically seem to sum up so much of the GOP/America: Party and Land of the Hateful.

Please see too: Surgeon general: ‘We are still seeing a proliferation of misinformation online’. We read:

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday said the U.S. is seeing a “proliferation of misinformation online,” as false information regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations is being amplified on social media platforms.

“We are still seeing a proliferation of misinformation online, and we know that health misinformation harms people’s health. It costs them their lives,” Murthy told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The issue of health misinformation has taken center stage in recent days, with concerns growing over its spread on social media platforms.

Murthy issued an advisory on Thursday calling health misinformation an “urgent threat,” writing in a statement that “it can cause confusion, sow distrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Please see also: Opinion: A vile new Trump-GOP claim about vaccines suggests trouble ahead. We read:

“People are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don’t trust his Administration,” the former president said in a statement Sunday, referring to President Biden. “They don’t trust the Election results, and they certainly don’t trust the Fake News.”

This suggests the anti-vaccine mania on the right may only get worse, at exactly the moment that we need it to get better. This vile new Trump claim hints at how this is likely to happen, with the complicity of even relatively responsible Republicans.

We’re seeing a new surge in coronavirus cases due to the delta variant and the lag in vaccinations, with new cases overwhelmingly concentrated among the unvaccinated. Both trends — surging cases and lagging vaccinations — are unfolding primarily in red states.

There is also a vaguely extortive quality to this: If you want us to help you vaccinate our own populations, you’d better stop calling out our voter suppression efforts for what they are.

Republican and right-wing efforts to encourage vaccine “skepticism” among GOP voters are unfolding on a spectrum. At the extreme end, GOP members of Congress rail at “needle Nazis” and suggest federal vaccine outreach is a slippery slope to confiscation of guns and Bibles.

Meanwhile, as Eric Boehlert notes, Fox News is spreading so much vaccine disinformation that it’s hard to see this as anything but deliberate sabotage of our covid response. And Matt Gertz details a whole constellation of other right-wing media outlets doing the same.

Yet top Republicans are doing little to discourage all this. As the New York Times puts it, these efforts have “elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations” with “very little resistance from party leaders.”

See too: Opinion: Why many of the unvaccinated insist on going without. The author writes:

I have seen the news coverage of those who have lost loved ones to this disease. I have seen the coverage of those who have died and, with their final words, wished that they had not refused to believe in its existence. And I also know that preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that 99.5 percent of the people who have died from covid-19 in recent months were unvaccinated.

All I can say is: Yikes!!!

But there is this hopeful article: Never mind Sean Hannity. Steve Doocy is the rare host at Fox actually promoting vaccines. We see:

“If you have the chance, get the shot. It will save your life.”

It was the kind of pro-vaccine message that a TV viewer has grown accustomed to hearing from public health officials, pop stars or President Biden. But it was delivered on Monday morning by Steve Doocy, co-host of the strongly right-leaning morning talk show “Fox & Friends” on Fox News Channel.

During the past few months, as some of his Fox colleagues have cast doubt and uncertainty about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines, most notably prime-time star Tucker Carlson, Doocy has emerged as one of the network’s biggest advocatesfor vaccines.

“Thank you Steve Doocy for telling the truth,” wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a prominent liberal congressman. “Every other Fox host, and every Republican official, should follow Doocy’s lead,” wrote Bill Kristol, a former Fox News contributor.

Doocy’s stature at the network gives his comments additional heft. He has been with Fox News since it was founded in 1996 and has been one of the faces of the network, growing in prominence as “Fox & Friends” took on new relevance and national importance during the administration of Donald Trump. His son, Peter, is the network’s White House correspondent.

And there is also a tragic article by : ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients. We read:

Dr. Brytney Cobia said Monday that all but one of her COVID patients in Alabama did not receive the vaccine. The vaccinated patient, she said, just needed a little oxygen and is expected to fully recover. Some of the others are dying.

“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been widely available in Alabama for months now, yet the state is last in the nation in vaccination rate, with only 33.7 percent of the population fully vaccinated. COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations are surging yet again due to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus and Alabama’s low vaccination rate.

This from Dr. Cobia is hauning, and makes one furious at Trump, Fox News, and most of the GOP: “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

In the United States, COVID is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, according to the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Alabama, state officials report 94% of COVID hospital patients and 96% of Alabamians who have died of COVID since April were not fully vaccinated.

“A few days later when I call time of death,” continued Cobia on Facebook, “I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same.”

“They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”

excerpts:

Here’s a quote from a vaccine supporter who was anxious to see the FDA give early approval to Pfizer back in November: “I’ve been a big proponent of releasing it early. I think that we’ve had enough safety and effectiveness data.” Another person encouraged by the rapid production of the vaccines praised the “brilliant” way in which Project Warp Speed had made vaccines available so quickly.

As The Washington Post reports, that first person praising the early release of vaccines was Republican Sen. Rand Paul. The second was Sen. Ron Johnson.

They were just two of many Republicans who were perfectly happy to brag when vaccines were under development, crediting Donald Trump for the speed with which they became available. They were happy to cheer for Trump even though both the Pfizer/BioNTech vand Moderna vaccines were actually created months before Trump started the program, Pfizer actually received no funds for developing its vaccine, and the two biggest investments that Operation Warp Speed made—to Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline and Novavax—have yet to produce one dose of available vaccine. Still, there were vaccines. And Trump had funded vaccines. So vaccines … yah!

To be fair, Republican vaccine resistance has been high from the beginning. Civiqs actually shows vaccine refusal by Republicans increasing after the vaccines became available under Trump. Since then the lines have been almost flat, and currently 44% of Republicans say they will not take the vaccine. Just 2% of those who have not already been vaccinated say they intend to get vaccinated.

That resistance has held in spite of a huge spike in cases over the holidays that saw official death totals top 600,000. It’s held even as the delta variant has turned red counties into red-hot spots of disease. It’s held in spite of the fact that 99.2% of COVID-19 deaths in the month of May were among those who remain unvaccinated.

Buoyed up on a bed of lies and, with Republicans now finding it much more convenient to attack the vaccine than protect the health of the nation, it shouldn’t be surprising that The Washington Post is reporting vaccine hesitancy has turned into vaccine hostility. Republicans aren’t just refusing to get a shot—they are actively cheering the fact that vaccinations are slowing and disease is spreading. They’re framing President Biden’s call for volunteers to conduct door-to-door canvasses for residents who might have difficulty accessing a vaccine into a sinister attempt to get “government agents” into every home. A plot, says Rep. Madison Cawthorn, that is maximum Big Brother. “Think about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing,”  said Cawthorn. “And then think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door-to-door and take your guns, they could go door-to-door and take your Bibles.”

Please click on: GOP Anti-Vaxxers

Footnotes
  1. Whoever the hell such a “god” is, made altogether too often in White Supremacists’ imagedefinitively not the God of the Bible![]

Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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