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Editorial: Vaccine skeptics would rather shoot themselves in the foot than take the shot

Editorial: Vaccine skeptics would rather shoot themselves in the foot than take the shot

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Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton say they’re willing to receive their coronavirus vaccines on camera to deliver an unequivocal public message that the shot is safe — a message that Americans clearly need to counteract all the misinformation now circulating. Despite the miraculous development of viable vaccines less than a year into this pandemic, large swaths of the nation, especially conservatives, say they don’t plan to get the vaccine.

Among those fueling the unfounded skepticism is Missouri state Rep. Suzie Pollock, R-Lebanon, a cardiovascular invasive specialist who is challenging scientific results showing a 90% to 95% efficacy rate for the two vaccines now being rolled out. “I don’t want to take it and I don’t know if the vast majority wants to take it,” she told the Post-Dispatch.

Therein lies the problem: She’s a supposedly well-educated person representing the same party as President Donald Trump, whose most positive legacy in his final year in office will be his crash vaccine-development program. Yet Pollock, like others, are using their leadership positions to warn people away from getting vaccinated — helping ensure the continuance of all the pandemic restrictions that have conservatives so riled up.

One major new poll shows almost 4 in 10 adults are taking Pollock’s stance. Among the skeptics, according to the Pew Research Center poll, is a core group of respondents who say no amount of information will change their mind. The poll results suggest Trump and his Republican followers are victims of their own decisions to disregard science and acknowledge the pandemic’s seriousness. Among Democrats, 84% say the coronavirus outbreak is a major threat to the U.S. population, but only 43% of Republicans think so.

A major part of the problem is the amount of blatantly false information circulating online and on the airwaves. Despite all the criticism Missouri’s grandstanding junior senator, Republican Josh Hawley, has aimed recently at Facebook for refusing to let its platform be used to circulate false political propaganda, the company was correct to declare Thursday that it will start removing false claims and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccination program.

“This is another way that we are applying our policy to remove misinformation about the virus that could lead to imminent physical harm,” Facebook stated.

The entire nation is sick of the sacrifices and inconveniences this pandemic has imposed on their lives. Everyone wants to get back to the pre-pandemic way of life as soon as possible. But like it or not, the only route back to normalcy is through widespread administration of the vaccine. Those who choose to misinform themselves — or not inform themselves at all — help ensure this menace and all its freedom-robbing inconveniences will stick around a lot longer. They should take the shot instead of continuing to shoot themselves in the foot.

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