Robin Smith / June 7, 2021

The Beltway’s Vaccine Hypocrites

Beer, bucks, and dope — state bribes to take it while experts avoid it.

In the largely ignored May 11 hearing before a Senate panel tasked to report updates on the coronavirus response in the U.S., more than two hours of testimony revealed yet more of the Beltway’s boundless hypocrisy. It continues to matter to millions of Americans.

Testimony was offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases; Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research housed in the FDA; and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control. Nearing the conclusion of the testimony, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) got to something important: “I’m going to go to Dr. Fauci, Dr. Marks, and Dr. Walensky. What percentage of the employees in your institute, your center, or your agency, of your employees, has been vaccinated?”

Based on the nonstop cable news COVID coverage with the major emphasis to get “shots in arms,” along with President Joe Biden’s major push over the next month to have 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4, one might expect that the answers would be points of pride for these health leaders. Remember, media outlets get most of their information about this crisis, when they’re not citing each other, from the NIAID, FDA, and CDC. We’re all vaccinated would have encouraged Americans to consider following suit.

Instead, Fauci had to respond, “I’m not 100% sure, Senator, but I think it’s probably a little bit more than half; probably around 60%.” Dr. Peter Marks echoed, “I can’t tell you the exact number, but it’s probably in the same range. Some people [have been] vaccinated at our facility, and others outside of the facility.” Finally, Dr. Walensky opined, “We’re encouraging our employees to get vaccinated. We’ve been doing town halls and education seminars. Our staff have the option to report their vaccination status, but as you understand, the federal government is not requiring it, so we do not know.”

Interestingly, these comments mirror the public’s response, as noted by President Biden last week. In his declaration for June to be a national month of action, Biden cited CDC data that 52.8% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated, including 75% of seniors, the most vulnerable and likely to succumb to the virus. His multi-tiered plan to raise those numbers involves education, incentives, and greater availability of vaccines in non-healthcare venues. But pay attention to the numbers.

The American public has responded, in large part, by wisely talking to their healthcare providers and their families and making personal decisions on the vaccine. There are roughly 140 million adults with COVID protections due to the vaccine and another 30 million with a single shot of the two-dose regime. There is some overlap between infected and vaccinated, but more than 30 million Americans have had COVID, meaning they have some natural immunity now.

As the CDC director noted in her response, those who are in charge of COVID response are making the same choices about the COVID vaccine as the general public.

Social media, however, caught fire when @Breaking911 posted on Instagram about the hearing’s revelations, framing it this way: “NEW: About 40-50% of CDC, FDA employees are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Fauci, Marks.” Of course, the “fact-checkers” sprang into action to clarify that no such comments were made. While getting a “False” declaration from PolitiFact and similar coverage at Reuters and USA Today, the math still adds up. If around 60% have been vaccinated, according to these leaders, then around 40% have chosen not to be vaccinated after six months of free vaccines available nationwide. So we can quibble about the meaning of “refusing,” or we can get the general gist of the math.

How do Biden and his state minions plan to increase these numbers? Incentives. He praised the state of Ohio for its “Vax-A-Million” lottery — get vaccinated and you could win one of five $1 million drawings. And then there is Anheuser-Busch’s “Let’s Grab a Beer” promo promising free beer — if America reaches Biden’s 70% mark of shots in the arms by July 4th, the King of Beers “will buy America’s next round” to celebrate. Other states and businesses are offering similar incentives as vaccination rates fall off.

And not to be outdone, as Mark Alexander discovered, “The Demos in Washington state are implementing their ‘joints for jabs’ plan authorizing their state’s 500 marijuana dispensaries give away a free pre-rolled joint to those who get vaccinated at those dispensaries.” He adds, “They should call it their 'dope-a-dose’ plan.” Vaccinations in dope dispensaries — what could go wrong?

The federal healthcare bureaucracy has earned mistrust over the last 18 months because of embracing partisanship and tactics of shaming instead of relaying dispassionate and essential information for individuals to use to make informed decisions. Senator Burr’s closing comments to these lettered experts summed it up as well as anything we’ve seen: “We’re going to have to start portraying that we’re willing to do to ourselves what we’re asking the American people to do.”


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