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Liberals Are Wrong to Freak Out About Vaccine Skepticism. This Chart Shows Why.

A chart of international vaccination rates published Wednesday by The New York Times puts the lie to the liberal narrative about vaccine skepticism.

SO WHAT

Bashing Republicans isn’t going to end the pandemic.

WHAT HAPPENED

Then: If you listened to the mainstream media over the past year or so, you might think vaccine skepticism was invented by the GOP.

Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times COVID-19 reporter, in a May interview bemoaned “American exceptionalism” when it comes to vaccine skepticism.

  • “We are the country with the most vaccines at our disposal, and yet we seem to have the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy,” Mandavilli told the Times’ Daily podcast. “There are some in other countries as well, but not like in the United States. Our American exceptionalism is really gonna end up being a problem if we don’t make inroads into this hesitancy, and we could end up being the only country in a few years time that still hasn’t made it anywhere close to herd immunity.”
  • President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has repeatedly suggested vaccine-skeptical Republican voters and politicians are undermining U.S. health and prosperity, thereby justifying his sweeping federal mandates.

Now: The discovery last week of the Omicron variant in South Africa has the Times and others confronting the reality that vaccine skepticism is an international phenomenon — and the U.S. vaccination rate is higher than in most other populous countries.

“[T]here are growing signs in parts of Africa, as well as South Asia, that skepticism or outright hostility toward the Covid vaccines may run deeper than expected, even as the new and possibly more dangerous Omicron variant is spreading. … Deep distrust of governments and medical authorities, especially among rural and marginalized communities, may already be stalling out vaccination drives,” the Times reported Wednesday.

  • “Just days before the Omicron variant was first detected, health officials in South Africa turned away shipments of doses from Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson, worried that their stockpile of 16 million shots might spoil amid insufficient demand.”
  • Vaccines skepticism will likely make it hard to get “many more people inoculated in poorer nations where vaccines have been scarcest in order to deter new mutations from developing,” the Times concluded.

AND YET

Mandavilli, in another appearance on The Daily, Tuesday, acknowledged little is yet known about the Omicron variant’s behavior  — but she nonetheless insisted that vaccines, and only vaccines, were the correct response.

  • “[T]hese travel bans do really nothing,” Mandavilli said, citing public health experts on border restrictions imposed by the U.S. and other countries in response to the Omicron variant. “And the other problem with these travel restrictions is that to the people in those countries it feels like a punishment.”
  • “The vaccines are really still our best defense against this virus,” she added, downplaying concerns about the variant’s resistance. “And that’s even more true for boosters …”

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