On July 17th, I wrote a column saying that a potential coronavirus vaccine would become just as politicized as the debate over wearing masks. We haven’t reached a vaccination solution yet, but the politicization is already happening. After the mask debacle started quieting down, the Post Office conspiracy theory flared up and died, and now everyone on the left has moved on to “Trump vaccine bad.”
One of the biggest offenders on this front is Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris. In an interview aired by CNN on Sunday, she was asked by Dana Bash, “Let’s just say there’s a vaccine that is approved and even distributed before the election. Would you get it?”
Harris hedged, “Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump… I will not take his word for it.” Then she attacked the integrity of the medical professionals who are responsible for testing and putting together a vaccination response to COVID-19:
[T]hey’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined, because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days, and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he’s been a leader on this issue when he’s not. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about.
She’s been joined on this front by pundits on the left. In outlets like the Los Angeles Times, they write “how you should be reacting to the administration’s push for rapid approval of a vaccine: Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Realizing this makes them sound like anti-vaxxers, these same pundits then twist themselves into pretzels to explain that being afraid of a vaccine approved by the Trump administration is actually “pro-vaccine.”
This tactic is one of the oldest tricks in the anti-vaxxer’s handbook. You don’t claim to be anti-vax; you insist on a pro-vaccination stance while sharing “health and safety concerns.” Because who can oppose taking health and safety concerns into consideration?
It’s a dodge, pure and simple. These people don’t want a working vaccination because they’re terrified that if Trump gets a win on the coronavirus, Biden will lose the election. It’s the height of “Orange man bad” thinking attached to public health and safety in the middle of a pandemic. There’s no difference with this conspiracy-mongering theory than the insane conspiracy that Bill Gates is chipping everyone on the right. And if Biden wins the election, these same concerns over those same vaccinations will magically vanish overnight.
You don’t have to take my word on the sleight of hand being played by Harris and leftist pundits. Psychology Today wrote about this phenomenon in May:
Over the past decade, the stakes of “vaccine hesitancy,” encompassing those generally concerned about vaccine safety and “just asking questions” to those with more congealed and conspiratorial anti-vaccine beliefs (e.g., the false belief that the government knows but is deliberately hiding the fact that vaccines cause autism), have risen dramatically. Misbeliefs and conspiracy theories about vaccines have played a potent role in the loss of herd immunity for measles and the resulting re-emergence of the communicable disease around the world, including here in the U.S. where it had been previously eradicated in 2000.
To take these concerns seriously, you’d have to believe that Donald Trump is twirling a Snidley Whiplash mustache and plotting the deaths of millions with a faulty vaccine. The left has exactly zero proof on this front.
Let me repeat that point: there is zero proof any vaccines we’re testing right now for mass use are unsafe. Just the opposite is occurring. The Wall Street Journal reports that several of the largest drugmakers, in an attempt to head off anti-vaccine idiots on the left, “plan to issue a public pledge not to seek government approval until the shots have proven to be safe and effective, an unusual joint move among rivals that comes as they work to address concerns over a rush to mass vaccination.”
If you’re pushing the anti-vaccination point on the COVID-19 research right now, you’re anti-science. The “Party of Science,” as Democrats like to call themselves, is building an anti-vaccination movement in the middle of a pandemic purely for political purposes.
I get the political incentives for this. Democrats are incentivized to blast any solution as a means of sinking Trump electorally. But if that’s what they’re doing, it means they’re lying when they claim, as Harris did on masks, claiming, “we all make the sacrifice to wear a mask in the interest of love of our neighbor, in the interest of defeating or at least reducing the health risks or the number of deaths in America.”
Vaccines fit under the same umbrella as masks in a pandemic like this one. And with their behavior, Democrats and Biden-Harris are acting in the opposite interests of loving their neighbors or protecting Americans. Or, as I said in the July column, “because people refuse to buy into this notion of service to country, we instead will continue to suffer a prolonged affliction with the virus…”
That’s unfortunately still true. And Democrats are pushing conspiracy theories and politics over defeating a pandemic. That’s even worse.