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President Joe Biden entered the White House with a huge gift from his predecessor: COVID vaccines produced in record time and being administered to Americans at the rate of nearly a million shots a day. But rather than getting the nation over the finish line, the new president’s leadership has proved a drag on progress by feeding vaccine resistance.
In particular, the feds’ sudden, evidence-ignoring 10-day suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did serious damage in terms of vaccine hesitancy. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll just found that 20 percent of unvaccinated adults changed their minds about getting jabbed because of the pause. Doubt was even stronger in some demographics: 39 percent of Hispanic women said the suspension changed their views.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration put the pause on J&J after learning of just six cases of serious blood clots among the 7 million Americans who’d gotten the jab.
This wasn’t science but extremely risk-averse bureaucrats ignoring the overwhelming benefits to the public for the remote fear that they might be criticized.
President Donald Trump’s critics said the approval of even a single vaccine by the end of 2020 would be a miracle, but Operation Warp Speed delivered two jabs with a third on the way — in good part because Team Trump sat on the bureaucrats to prevent such deadly foolishness.
But Biden has other priorities; he couldn’t even be bothered to try undoing the damage from the J&J pause. The day it was announced, April 13, he gave two public addresses: one at a congressional tribute to a slain Capitol Police officer and one in the Oval Office before his meeting with Congressional Black Caucus members — on a favorite subject, “equity.”
“When we took office,” he said, “I signed the executive order — every single aspect of our government, including every agency, has, as a primary focus, dealing with equity. Not a joke.”
During his campaign, Biden said his top priority would be the COVID crisis. Instead, it’s turned out to be a dangerous game of trying to institute equality of outcome.
Heck, if he really cared about equity, he’d focus on boosting confidence in and distribution of the vaccines — African Americans have been getting jabbed at far lower rates than whites.
After Biden’s remarks, a reporter asked him about the J&J pause — giving him a chance to show leadership and calm the nation’s nerves over the vax.
That’s what UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did when the European Union panicked over a similar blood-clot issue with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, urging all to heed the advice of the UK regulator, which rightly said the shot’s benefits far outweighed the risks. “The best thing of all is to vaccinate our population, get everybody out getting the jab, that’s the key thing, and that’s what I would advocate, number one,” he declared.
In grim contrast, Biden punted: “My message to the American people on the vaccine is — I told you all: I made sure we have 600 million doses of the MR — not of either Johnson & Johnson and/or AstraZeneca. So there’s enough vaccine that is basically 100 percent unquestionable for every single, solitary American.”
The nation’s top leader actually suggested one of the FDA-approved vaccines was “questionable.” No wonder confidence in all the shots has dropped.
But Biden fails on a larger scale, with behavior that says, “This crisis will last forever.”
Why? Well, a forever crisis justifies his bid to expand government permanently and lock in Democratic dominance. Sadly, that seems to matter more to this president than the health of the nation.
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