Alex Azar was Trump's Secretary of Health and this morning, the NY Times published an OpEd he wrote trying to de-politicize the vaccine, bemoaning "the reluctance and even refusal of many Americans-- including many of my fellow conservatives and Republicans-- to get a Covid-19 vaccine."
Whether such skepticism is rooted in political misgivings, conspiracy theories or lack of accurate and timely information, there are still millions of Americans unwilling to take the simplest of steps to end this pandemic. That makes it incumbent upon all leaders and health experts to be honest about how safe and effective the vaccines are and urge vaccination.
...Any claims that the vaccines are unsafe or ineffective, or that corners were cut are not true. Americans should understand that the process by which our team helped expedite these vaccines was called Operation Warp Speed for good reason. With the numbers of cases and deaths climbing in April of 2020 and the economy contracting, we had no time to lose. Masks and social distancing could offer only so much protection. Lockdowns, which devastated economies around the world, could only forestall the virus’s inevitable spread.
...Some who are hesitant to get vaccinated point to the fact that the vaccines remain under emergency-use authorization rather than full approval. It’s vital for Democratic and Republican leaders to explain clearly and repeatedly that the F.D.A. held these vaccines to such high standards that the only real difference is that full approval requires steps like analyzing longer-term safety and efficacy data, and inspecting manufacturing facilities. Hundreds of millions of doses of these vaccines have now been given to Americans over the past year, providing us with some of the most robust real-world evidence of their safety and efficacy that we’ve ever had for new vaccines. A vast majority of adverse events with the vaccines occur in the first 42 days or so.
The current and former leadership of the F.D.A. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-- of both parties-- are unanimous in encouraging all eligible Americans to take the vaccines. Political, public health and thought leaders must educate about the benefits of the vaccine, not hector or preach. This information must come from respected and trusted figures in the various hesitant communities.
...[W]e did not predict the politicization of vaccines that has led so many Republicans to hold back. As of mid-July, 43 percent of Republicans said that they have not been vaccinated and definitely or probably wouldn’t be, versus 10 percent of Democrats, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. I’m glad former President Trump got vaccinated, but it would have been even better for him to have done so on national television so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has in what is arguably one of his greatest accomplishments.
...More than 600,000 Americans have died of Covid-19, but vaccines can prevent more loss. Getting vaccinated is an absolute necessity to end the pandemic.
Conservatives need to do our part, and the Biden administration must find voices that will be trusted in conservative communities to explain the data and integrity of the vaccine programs. They would also do well to continue to acknowledge the historic achievement of the Trump administration in expediting these vaccines. I’m not naïve about the partisan issues and the mistrust between parties at play-- but a measure of political graciousness could go a long way to depoliticize the issue.
In seeking to end this pandemic, the Biden administration is exhorting all unvaccinated adults in our country to get their shots, and I fully support it in this call. It would be tragic to see more lives needlessly lost when we are so close to beating this virus once and for all.
People think of California as a blue paradise. I have news for them; in 2020 Trump got more votes in California-- 6,006,429-- than any other state... more than in Texas, more than in Florida, and more than in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Louisiana combined. Of course, our state also gave Biden more votes than any other state-- 11,110,250-- but we certainly have more than our share of idiots, nuts and fascists here in the Golden State. Which, unfortunately means we also have our share of new COVID-19 cases. Florida-- the state always with the most cases-- didn't report yesterday or the day before, leaving California on record with the most new cases for the day, 8,639.
These are the counties with the biggest votes for Trump in 2020 and next to each one is the percentage of fully vaccinated adults. Keep in mind that statewide, California has 53% of its adults fully vaccinated.
Lassen Co.- 74.5% for Trump-- 27% vaccinated (cases up 33% in the last 2 weeks)
Modoc Co.- 71.2% for Trump-- either no one is vaccinated or they're not handing out the stats (cases up 50% in the last 2 weeks)
Tehama Co.- 66.6% for Trump-- 29% vaccinated (cases up 195% in the last 2 weeks)
Shasta Co.- 65.4% for Trump-- 35% vaccinated (cases up 243% in the last 2 weeks)
Amador Co.- 60.7% for Trump-- 40% vaccinated (cases up 408% in the last 2 weeks)
Calaveras Co.- 60.6% for Trump-- 39% vaccinated (cases up 17% in the last 2 weeks)
Can you name these congressional crackpots and hucksters? Luckily, none of them have much sway in California or much a following in California.