Vaccine Hesitant? There’s Nothing to Fear But Fear — and The Virus
President Joe Biden and his team were beginning to sound noticeably nervous about falling short of his national goal to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of adult Americans by July 4. But now, with an apparent assist from the deadly delta variant, they made it.
Widespread vaccine hesitancy — particularly in conservative parts of the country — prevented the U.S. from meeting his deadline.
But that goal was met in recent weeks as the delta variant, far more contagious than earlier versions, began to swamp hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates, which also have tended to be politically conservative areas across the South.
In that spirit, let us give a special shoutout to Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, whose frankness in a state with the lowest vaccination rate in the country made national news when a reporter asked her in Birmingham how she was going to persuade folks to get their jabs as the pandemic spiked.
“Folks (are) supposed to have common sense,” she said with exasperation you could cut with a butter knife. “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”
Yes, ma’am. “The ‘rona ain’t no joke,” said my hospital worker cousin, who finally got the jab after weeks of reciting bogus internet factoids as an excuse. The near-death of a colleague amid other tragedies where she works finally convinced her. I’m glad. Our family wants her to stick around.
And you know the rise of the delta variant is serious when the conservative New York Post uses it as an excuse to bash former President Barack Obama’s upcoming star-studded 60th birthday party this weekend on posh Martha’s Vineyard with: “‘Imagine if this was for Trump’: Obama bash for hundreds draws jeers amid Delta outbreaks.”
Of course, I don’t have to imagine. I remember at least one of former President Donald Trump’s outdoor White House soirees that turned into a superspreader event. At least, the Obama family and guests reportedly got their vaccinations first.
Nevertheless, the rise of the delta variant, forcing even those of us who happen to be vaccinated to put our masks on again, however reluctantly, has injected a renewed sense of urgency into the pandemic. This ’rona is serious.
Medical experts say persuading many Americans to get their shots was like reaching for low-hanging fruit compared with the late-coming skeptics, deniers and foot-draggers who needed more convincing.