Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Johnson, Who Once Marveled at Medical Science, Pooh-Pooh's Vaccines Because God Didn't Make Them

Wisconsin's Republican Senator, Ron Johnson, is trying to win the hearts and minds of anti-vaxxers by becoming the most anti-vaxxer lawmaker in Washington — and embarrassing our state in the process.

Here's the latest of what Johnson has peddled against vaccines, via Raw Story:

During an interview with WCPT, Johnson said that vaccine scientists are wrong to think that they "can create something better than God."

The Wisconsin Republican recalled that he had tested positive for Covid-19 last year while being free of symptoms.

"Why would we just automatically assume that our natural immunity is going to be awful?" he ranted. "You would think the default position would be, if you've already had it, you ought to be pretty well protected. Why do we assume that the body's natural immune system isn't the marvel that it really is?"

"Why do we think that we can create something better than God" is quite the argument for Johnson to make against medical science — especially from someone who used to discuss the wonders of medical science in order to (somehow) bash the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.

Here's a statement from Johnson in 2012:

"The types of medical innovation that saved my daughter’s life [and] that saves millions of Americans — I wont’ say it’s going to come to a grinding halt but it’s going to be severely limited [by Obamacare]..."

The logic behind Johnson's attacks on the ACA were, in fact, illogical, as
his claims of "severely limited" healthcare never came to fruition

image via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, modified
(indeed, his claims were about as believable as "death panels"). But that's not the point: the real issue here is that the Wisconsin senator used to give high praise to the things medical science could provide, specifically noting that his daughter benefited from such innovations. But today, he refuses to do so for vaccines that could save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives.

That's because it's not politically advantageous for him, as a member of the anti-science, pro-Trump wing of the GOP. Now, he's got to act like vaccines are somehow an affront to God in order to get support from his far-right base in Wisconsin (and campaign cash from others elsewhere across the country). 

Here are the facts: the vaccines work, and they're safe. Omicron has proven that variants have the ability to result in breakthrough infections, but those who do get COVID after a vaccine rarely need hospitalization, including in Wisconsin, where an unvaxxed person is more than 10 times more likely to need to go to the hospital than a person who has received their shots for the virus.

In places where vaccine rates are higher, there are fewer hospitalizations — and fewer deaths. In the state overall, the rate of fully-vaccinated individuals sits at 62 percent. During the past seven days, a total of 163 Wisconsinites have died.

Compare that with Dane County's rates. With four-in-five residents vaccinated (80 percent), just seven residents in the county have died during the past week.

We also know that so-called "natural immunity" that Johnson is pushing is bogus — that method is less likely to create the same/consistent levels of antibodies that the vaccines safely create. It's also a process that requires thousands of people to get sick and die in order to be effective. 

"We have never successfully been able to do [natural herd immunity] before, and it will lead to unacceptable and unnecessary untold human death and suffering," Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute, said in October 2020.

So the bottom line is this: we have proof that vaccines are working and that they're safe to administer. We also have never seen "natural immunity" tackle a virus like this or any other ailment causing this much harm to the public. The vaccines are our best shot at combating this pandemic.

Ron Johnson's belief that a man-made vaccine is an affront to God would be silly, were it not so seriously deadly. This senator needs to go, because his words are dangerous.