Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) announced that Oregon had finally met the goal of seventy percent of eligible adults receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and promptly announced that the next goal was eighty percent. That is probably the last time that you will hear reference to that goal because, based on the way Ms. Brown counts, the goal is nearly unattainable without forced vaccination under threat – and for a variety of reasons:
First, an April 7, 2021 National Public Radio poll noted:
“A recent NPR/Marist poll found that one in four Americans said they would refuse a coronavirus vaccine outright if offered. Another 5% are ‘undecided’ about whether they would get the shot. Although the numbers were highest for Republican men and residents of rural areas, there were still a significant number of people across all ages and demographic groups who claim they will say ‘no’.”
Relying on a Monmouth Poll, The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy stated in an April 15, 2021, article:
“A poll published yesterday from Monmouth University found that 1 in 5 Americans remain unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Granted both polls do not track with “eligible adults” because they include young people who seem more resistant than other groups – probably because they like all of us who cycled through that age believe they are invulnerable. But the polls are instructive. There are a substantial number of adults that simply refuse to take the vaccine. In our travels I have met some of those who resist and their rationales vary:
There are those who decline because of religious reasons.
There are those who are convinced that the vaccine also contains “tracking devices” that allow the government to monitor their movements. Apparently they don’t realize that private enterprise (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) already has that capability via your smart phones.
There are those who are concerned about the long term effects of the vaccines in general and about the new mRNA technology used in particular. (A good friend of my is a bio-chemist of some renown who explained the mRNA process to me and that alleviated much of my concern about its effects.)
There are those who have read about the over-hyped incidents of collateral problems.
There are those who have read about the over-hyped number of people who have still contracted the virus after being fully vaccinated. (What part of ninety-five percent effective do they not understand?)
But the clincher was the woman who explained that she did not need the vaccine because she practiced yoga.
Regardless of the reasons, there exists a significant reservoir of eligible adults who will not take the vaccine. And that is their right if we still live in a free society.
Second, there is a significant racial gap in the “take rate” for the vaccine. According to a report from the Oregon Health Authority’s Scoreboard as of July 2, 2021, African-American, Native American and Hispanic communities have range of between 43.8 – to 45.4 percent of the eligible adult population having received at least the first dose of the vaccines. In contrast Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, White and Asian communities have a range of between 60.4 and 80.0 percent. Let’s stop for a moment here.
Statistical anomalies are the bread and butter of race-baiters. The liberal/progressive/socialist wing of the Democrat party routinely seizes upon such anomalies to brand their enemies as “racists, sexists, homophobes, and/or xenophobes” (the favorite string of insults routinely leveled by Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and her Squad and most of the mainstream media). Will they now castigate Ms. Brown – one of their charter members?
However, in the case of Ms. Brown the reason for the gap is probably due more to ineptitude than anything else. Ms. Brown emphasized “mandates” as opposed to “education” – an imperious act. A bona fide act was always accompanied by a demand or a threat. For instance, were young children playing soccer outdoors really at risk of contracting the coronavirus, or was that just an act to force their parents to get vaccinated in order to meet Ms. Brown’s arbitrary 70 percent rule? No one likes to be told what to do particularly if it is accompanied by a threat or a demand. Minority communities are no different, particularly if there is already an existing distrust of the current power structure. While this may not be the sole reason it is most certainly a contributing reason. An iron fist is appropriate for a dictatorship but not a democracy where people are still free to make a choice and whisper “bite me, Ms. Brown” under their breaths.
And finally, the extended and unnecessary lockdown has created its own backlash of disbelief and resistance. There were so many lies, exaggerations, contradictions, special treatments and irrational mandates that the average citizen has come to simply distrust almost everything said by the government. A January 13, 2021, Rueters article noted:
“Trust in governments, business chiefs and media is crumbling amid a perceived mis-handling by leaders of the coronavirus pandemic and a widespread feeling among ordinary citizens that they are being misled, a global survey has found.
“The Edelman Trust Barometer, which for two decades has polled thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, found 57% of people believe government leaders, business chiefs and journalists are spreading falsehoods or exaggerations.
“’We have a leadership crisis,’ Richard Edelman, whose Edelman communications group produces the survey, said at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday after its release.
“’In a crisis, traditionally, you get quality information from government, and from media, and both of those are seen to have failed: media because it’s seen as ideological and biased, and government because the leaders have lied to us about masks and about hydroxychloroquine, and miracle cures,’ he added.”
Many of the commentators exploring the declining trust in government would have you believe that it stems from former President Donald Trump (note above) but the fact of the matter is the decline began decades ago when the populace learned that President John F. Kennedy lied to us about the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President Lyndon Johnson lied about the attack on the USS Maddox leading to the escalation of Vietnam War by virtue of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, President Richard Nixon lied about nearly everything leading to his impeachment and it carried on through Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and continues with President Joe Biden. The lies extend from justification for war, to cover-ups for sexual misconduct, to healthcare, to unethical financial arrangements, and everything in between. It accelerated during the COVID pandemic as both Republicans and Democrats weaponized the cause, the government response, the treatments, the morbidity and the current vaccines. Both sides trotted out their “experts” who were more than willing to toss aside real science in order to pursue the large agenda of political advantage. The results were government sponsored lockdowns, business closures, closed schools (with children in turmoil about their safety), politicians violating their own imposed restrictions, and a recurring lie about the use of science as the imprimatur for everything. People were not just confused, they were frightened by the nearly twenty-four hours a day harping about death and dying. They were confused because the important information was withheld about asymptomatic cases and recoveries, about success in treatments with a variety of drugs, and about the rapidly declining morbidity rate – all of which would have given comfort, allowed a reasonable economic response, and suggested a much more targeted response.
But none of that occurred on a timely basis and so now that that information is coming to light people are rightly angry about what they were told and what was withheld. They believe that governments lied in order to promote their own political agendas rather than attend to the people they swore to protect.
In the end, we are going to make yet another mistake in the history of the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on an arbitrary number and trying to force vaccinations when we should be concentrating on fully implementing a return to normalcy. And for once try a little diplomacy (education) rather than contrivance (mandates).