After missing their July 4th target of having 70% of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are willing to tag anyone but themselves for their bungled vaccine rollout. But the record clearly shows that if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want to find someone to blame for the hesitancy that still exists among many Americans to get the vaccine, the best place to look would be in the mirror.
The most recent recipient of the Biden administration’s anger for low vaccination rates is Facebook, which President Biden accused last Friday of “killing people” for not stopping free and open discussion about vaccines on its platform. After rare backlash from the media and many in the public, Biden later attempted to walk back his remarks, saying that “Facebook isn’t killing people,” rather it is “12 people” on Facebook who are “out there giving misinformation,” and they are the ones killing people.
Also last week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, a Biden appointee, echoed the President’s accusation, declaring that when it comes to COVID, it is not the virus, but rather “misinformation [that] poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”
But if misinformation is as serious a threat as the Surgeon General says it is, then how can President Biden and Vice President Harris expect to curb misinformation if they don’t first apologize for all the misinformation they spread about the virus last year?
On the campaign trail last fall, a favorite tactic of then-candidate Kamala Harris was to sow doubt about the vaccines being developed thanks to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. During the Vice-Presidential debate, on her biggest platform of the campaign, Harris explicitly stated that she would not take a vaccine recommended by President Trump. Although Vice President Pence rightly admonished Harris for “playing politics with people’s lives,” her words – textbook misinformation – could not be unsaid.
Thankfully three vaccines were developed, and millions of Americans have chosen to ignore Harris’ advice and listen to President Trump’s repeated messages of encouragement to get vaccinated. But now Vice President Harris bemoans the fact that some Americans still remain hesitant to take the very same vaccine that she herself once said she would not trust. To this day, Harris has not apologized for the lies that she told about the COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden and Harris have also both appeared on numerous occasions to contradict the guidance of their own health experts when it comes to best practices to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, another form of misinformation. Despite the fact that Biden, Harris, and presumably their entire staffs and families had been vaccinated, the President and Vice President insisted on wearing masks in public until recently. And of course, who could forget the absurd spectacle of Kamala Harris kissing her husband with both wearing masks, again long after both had been vaccinated.
There’s also the case of Biden’s school reopening guidance, which even the liberal Washington Post admitted was a “muddled message.” Biden was forced to repeatedly change his definition of what it means for a school to be “open,” and many conservatives, not without merit, accused the President of listening to teachers unions over medical experts on the health risks (or lack thereof) associated with reopening schools.
Additionally, when evidenced emerged in April that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be linked to the formation of exceedingly rare blood clots, Biden paused and then resumed distribution of the vaccine, again sending mixed signals to millions of Americans. Even radical Democrat governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut accused Biden of being “naïve” for assuming people would simply trust the vaccine again after the Biden administration raised the alarm about its safety.
More recently, Biden has also failed to deliver a clear message about the so-called “delta variant” of the virus, which made up more than half of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of last week. In a confusing sequence of statements earlier this month, Biden told reporters that he was “not concerned” that there would be “a major outbreak” as a result of the delta variant, but then immediately said he is concerned “lives will be lost.”
In short, when it comes to combatting “misinformation” about vaccines and COVID-19, Biden and Harris should get their own house in order before blaming anyone else. If they truly want to be leaders in restoring public confidence in government and public health infrastructure, they could start by apologizing for their own misleading or downright false statements and by working with Republicans, not against them, to distribute vaccines and save lives.
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