Bipartisanship has been a watchword for President Biden since he began campaigning for the nation’s top job. But the Republicans have resisted cooperation, and the latest reluctance to be vaccinated is most disturbing.
According to a recent CBS News poll, a third of Republicans said they would not be vaccinated, compared with 10% of Democrats. Another 20% of Republicans said they were unsure about receiving the shot.
The reasons for not getting vaccinated vary. Some cite religious reasons for declining the shot, especially those who believe the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses abortion-derived fetal cells. Others have expressed a general distrust of the government as do many African Americans who have not forgotten the Tuskegee experiments in which Black men were used as guinea pigs.
And there is a growing number of refusals based on the belief that the vaccines have been produced too fast to ensure effectiveness and not enough tests have been completed.
Whatever the reasons the resistance has caused a grave concern for lawmakers and health workers. Without a massive vaccinated public herd immunity will be further delayed. “I discussed it with my team, and they say the thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s supporters and campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Until everyone is vaccinated, Mr. Biden added, Americans should continue to wear masks.
Meanwhile, the CDC has warned of a possible second wave of the pandemic, similar to the one now spreading in Europe forcing several nations into another round of lockdown.
Biden’s attempt at bipartisanship did not prevail in the passing of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, American Rescue Act, with no Republican in the House or Senate going along with the bill. Now some GOP lawmakers and members are claiming that Biden’s bill benefits the nation’s richly endowed citizens and not the poor and working class. A chart from the Tax Policy Center refutes that claim and compares the platform with Trump legislation. It clearly shows that during the Trump years the income distribution was up the ladder and not down to those most desperately in need of assistance.
It appears that no amount of evidence to repudiate GOP conclusions will alter their thinking, and to witness their resistance to vaccination is far more critical than their falsehoods about who are the beneficiaries of government support.