Tuesday, July 27, 2021

It is Time to Mandate Covid-19 Vaccines

This past week, a number of Republican elected officials have urged their constituents to get vaccinated for Covid-19.  It was a startling reversal.  Usually those Republican politicians can be found dutifully following MAGA public opinion, including the Trumpers' anti-vax vitriol.

What changed?  Well, Covid-19 numbers are spiking again, but this time it is the more deadly Delta variant of the virus.  The Delta variant is more contagious and more lethal, and, unlike the previous version, Delta Covid-19 also hits younger folks.  But if you are vaccinated, the odds of getting Covid-19 drop dramatically and, if you do get Covid, it's unlikely to require hospitalization.  About 97% of the Covid-19 hospitalizations are of people who have not been vaccinated.

If the unvaccinated were just hurting themselves, my libertarian impulses would say that's their choice.  The problem is that unless we reach herd immunity, Covid-19 will continue to find hosts and continue to mutate. Eventually it will mutate to a more dangerous strain for which the vaccine no longer provides protection. 

The largest group that has held out being vaccinated are Trump Republicans.  They have grown skeptical of the vaccines, a sentiment that has been driven by bogus anti-vax claims from Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.  Those views have been magnified and multiplied among the right wing on social media.  Interestingly, although Fox News has portrayed vaccination "passports" as dangerous to personal freedom and anti-American, Fox employs its own vaccination passport system named "Fox Clear Pass" which encourages employees to reveal their vaccination status in order to avoid daily screening.   Meanwhile, Fox's chief anti-vaxxer Carlson won't reveal whether he has been vaccinated.  Which, of course, means that he has been vaccinated.

The only way to get Covid-19 under control is to stop the failed approach of voluntary vaccinations.  Employers are fully within their rights to mandate vaccinations for their employees.  Such a requirement makes sense as failure to get vaccinated could end up increasing premiums for the group health insurance policies these employers utilize for their employees.  You could also have restaurants, bars and other business that cater directly to the public demand that you be vaccinated if you're going to patronize their establishments.  

Government doesn't have to mandate vaccines for everyone. Governments can, however, require that their employees be vaccinated and that people be vaccinated if they're going to go into government buildings, availing themselves of services that require interaction with the public.  People don't have a "right" to infect other members of the public because they refuse to get vaccinated.


OOP's short takes:

  • A few days ago, Fox News Host Tucker Carlson, while accompanied by his children, was confronted in a Montana fishing store by a resident who called Carlson the "worst human being" and blaming him for Covid-19 deaths with vaccine misinformation.   I concur with the sentiment.  Carlson is truly one of the worst human beings on the planet.  His promotion of anti-vax sentiment is literally killing people.   But I strongly disagree with the tactic of verbally confronting public figures who arguably have reprehensible views.  The tactic accomplishes nothing and makes the  public figure sympathetic.
  • On the other hand, earlier this year Carlson encouraged his viewers to confront strangers who choose to wear masks in public and to call 911 if they see kids wearing masks.  Fox News, which denounced the fishing store confrontation of its host, said nothing when Carlson urged confrontations with mask wearers this spring.
  • Watched some of the January 6th Select Committee proceedings  The testimony of the police officers is a powerful rebuke to those disingenuous fools claiming that the armed insurrection which tried to stop the counting of electoral vote was just a normal tourist visit.  Over 100 police officers were injured that day while trying to protect members of Congress from violence.
  • I don't think there is any question that Speaker Pelosi did the right thing by refusing to appoint the two Jims, Jordan and Banks, to the select committee.  They have proven themselves to not be serious players, elected officials who have no respect for the Constitution or American democracy.  Banks, who at one time seemed a principled conservative, seems to be polishing his Trump credentials for a possible gubernatorial run in 2024.
  • Former President Trump has endorsed indicted felon Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for re-election.  In doing so, he passed over Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who is the son of Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and the grandson of the late former President George H.W. Bush.  This is despite the fact George P. showed he was more than willing to throw his family under the bus while groveling for the endorsement of Trump.

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