Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist slams Ron DeSantis for 'lying' about COVID-19 vaccines
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has been vehemently critical of anti-vaxxers, arguing that their anti-science, anti-medicine delusions are helping make the COVID-19 pandemic worse than it has to be in the United States. And in his November 22 column, Robinson slams Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for pandering to them.
DeSantis is not an anti-vaxxer per se. The far-right governor and MAGA Republican has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and earlier this year, he urged others to get vaccinated. But when anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists in MAGA World attacked him as a traitor, DeSantis began to shift his messaging on vaccines. Now, he is making the false claim that they aren't effective — which is DeSantis' cynical, shameless way of showing anti-vaxxers how MAGA he is.
"Those who try to make people believe that the vaccines 'are not preventing infection,' as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) claimed last week, are lying," Robinson declares. "The vaccines prevent most infections, but not all. They make it more difficult to transmit the virus to someone else, but not impossible. Most important, being vaccinated means that if you do get infected, unless you also have some condition that keeps the vaccine from boosting your immune system — like the late Colin L. Powell, who had multiple myeloma — you almost surely will not become gravely ill or die."
Almost two years have passed since COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019 — and since then, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, COVID-19 has killed more than 5.1 million people worldwide. That includes over 772,000 deaths in the United States, which has the world's highest COVID-19 death count. The good news is that although the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available in the U.S. don't offer a 100% guarantee that one won't get infected, they greatly reduce the chance of getting infected — and with "breakthrough" cases (health experts' term for people who are vaccinated but get infected anyway), infections are likely to be less severe. The vast majority of Americans who are dying from COVID-19 at this point are unvaccinated.
Many health experts fear that as the U.S. moves into the winter months, the number of COVID-19 infections will increase — and Robinson not only recommends getting vaccinated, but also, getting a booster shot if one was vaccinated at least half a year ago.
"If a winter wave of COVID -19 is inevitable, then, the key to minimizing it — and having something like a normal holiday season — is, you guessed it, vaccination," Robinson emphasizes. "Those who have never been vaccinated need to get over themselves and roll up their sleeves. And those who were vaccinated more than six months ago need to get a booster shot. The unvaccinated are the bigger problem, because they are the group most likely to be infected with the coronavirus, to spread it to others, to become sick enough to require hospitalization and — tragically and unnecessarily — to die."
Robinson concludes his column by arguing that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not anti-freedom — it's actually very pro-freedom.
"Anti-vaccination zealots here and abroad who demand their 'freedom' have it exactly backward," Robinson writes. "The vaccines can free us from this plague, if we will let them. The unchecked virus offers only tyranny."
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