Miami newspaper slams Ron DeSantis for misleading comments about COVID-19 vaccines: 'A profile in selfishness'
December will mark the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and it continues to imperil people all around the world — especially those who haven't been vaccinated for it. But the fact that COVID-19 has killed more than 4.5 million people worldwide (according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore) doesn't stop far-right Republicans from either pushing anti-vaxxer ideas for being afraid to offend anti-vaxxers. And the Miami Herald's editorial board is slamming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for ignorant comments he's made about COVID-19 vaccines.
Back in July, DeSantis spoke the truth when he said, "These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality" — and the Herald agrees with that statement. But on September 3, DeSantis said of vaccination, "It's about your health and whether you want that protection or not. It really doesn't impact me or anyone else."
.@GovRonDeSantis is asked about vaccine passport penalties and suggests vaccines aren't intended for public health:… https://t.co/xvI37CohBk— Mary Ellen Klas (@Mary Ellen Klas) 1630683175.0
In response to that statement, the Miami Herald's editorial board writes, "Doesn't impact anyone else? Talk about a profile in selfishness. Almost 46,000 have died of COVID in his state since the pandemic began. Too bad we can't ask the thousands who have died since vaccines became available if they wished everyone around them had gotten vaccinated."
The Herald goes on to cite some of the ways in which DeSantis' policies have made the spread of COVID-19 worse in Florida. In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one in five new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. was occurring in Florida.
.@GovRonDeSantis adds: "My philosophy is, as a governor, my job is to protect your individual freedom. My job is no… https://t.co/NJUk23x9J3— Mary Ellen Klas (@Mary Ellen Klas) 1630683175.0
And @GovRonDeSantis doubles down on opposition to businesses requiring customers to be vaccinated to keep all custo… https://t.co/fJ98WzP1WQ— Mary Ellen Klas (@Mary Ellen Klas) 1630683176.0
"This governor already has gone to war against school boards and parents who want to keep kids safer in schools with mask mandates," the Herald's editorial board explains. "He's fought against cruise lines that want to preserve their businesses by making sure their customers can stay COVID-free on ships by requiring vaccines. Now, he's dismissing the role of vaccines in reducing community spread. And it's the opposite of what he says. COVID's spread actually is a community problem, and solving it starts with vaccines."
DeSantis has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate for 2024, assuming that former President Donald Trump doesn't run. And the Herald implies that his COVID-19 policies are politically motivated, not motivated by a concern for public health.
"Getting the vaccine certainly helps the person who gets the shot — the governor's not wrong about that," the Herald's editorial board notes. "It vastly reduces the chances of being hospitalized or dying of the disease. But it also reduces the spread of the virus to others. That's the critical point that DeSantis is disregarding in his zeal to appeal to the freedom-at-all-costs far-right of his party as he heads into reelection and eyes the White House."
The Herald points out that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 not only protects the person receiving the vaccine — it protects others as well.
"You, as a vaccinated person, are helping to safeguard people who can't get the shot, like children under 12 and the immunocompromised, such as those with transplanted organs," the Herald's editorial board observes. "You're also helping to protect seniors whose immunity often isn't robust enough even they are vaccinated. You might even be saving the life of someone who simply refuses to get the vaccine."
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