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At the recent CPAC, attendees celebrated the failure of Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults. Now top Republicans have U-turned, urging people to get their jab.

  • A number of high-profile Republicans are now urging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Deaths from COVID-19 in the US are largely attributed to the unvaccinated population 
  • Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has said the jabs are “effective, safe, and don’t cost you a dime.”

High-profile Republicans are switching from a previous vaccine hesitant stance and now urging Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccines, as soon as possible.

Only two weeks ago at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, attendees cheered and clapped that Biden had not been able to”sucker” people and had missed his goal of vaccinating 70% of adults. Vaccine hesitancy on the right had metastasized into outright hostility.

But the mood music has changed again as the Delta variant rips through the red states where low vaccination rates are filling hospital ICU’s at an alarming rate.

On Thursday, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama, who for much of the coronavirus pandemic resisted public-health measures, criticized her state’s unvaccinated population.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” she said when asked what it would take to get more people vaccinated. “Folks supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”

Alabama has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate nationwide, according to a New York Times tracker.

Ivey followed a slew of Republican big-hitters to call for a greater vaccination urgency.  Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell led this movement, urging people on Tuesday, to ignore the “demonstrably bad advice” which spreads mistrust of the vaccines, and said, “If there is anybody out there willing to listen: Get vaccinated.”

Read more: Meet the government worker who cut through months’ worth of federal bureaucracy in 10 days to help millions of Americans get vaccinated

Ron DeSantis – Governor of Florida, where 1 in 5 Covid cases in the USA are –  told the public in the Trump heartland: “If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero … These vaccines are saving lives,” he said during a press conference.

donald trump ron desantis

President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on November 26, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images


Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is another high-profile Republican exhibiting a change in tune. He took to Twitter July 21 to say that the vaccines are “effective, safe, and don’t cost you a dime.”

Joining the Republican U-turn, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.)  – who had previously attempted to block Senate funding for the COVID-19 vaccine in tandem with his anti-vaxx stance – received his dose of the vaccine, telling people they should get theirs and that it is “safe and effective.” 

He added: “When you talk to people who run hospitals, in New Orleans or other states, 90% of people in hospitals with Delta variant have not been vaccinated. That’s another signal the vaccine works,” The Times-Picayune reported

President Biden and the head of the CDC, have called the current state of COVID-19 in the USA the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” 

Three strongly GOP states account for 40% of Covid cases – Florida, Missouri, and Texas – announced White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients at a press briefing on July 21. 

Rob Wilson, former GOP strategist and founder of the Lincoln Project, said on Twitter that he believes this change in tone is a polling strategy – the result of a realization that it may not be politically palpable to reject the vaccine whilst COVID-19 deaths and cases surge.

 

So far, less than half of the US population has had their COVID-19 vaccine, with 63,818 new cases recorded across the country on July 22 alone. 



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