- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell implored Americans to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus Tuesday and said they should ignore the “demonstrably bad advice” of some people arguing otherwise.

“It never occurred to me, after three highly effective vaccines were developed in under a year, that we’d have difficulty getting Americans to take the shots,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

“But that’s obviously where we are,” Mr. McConnell told reporters in Washington during a brief news conference he conducted with several fellow Senate Republicans emerging from a weekly caucus luncheon.

Most of the U.S. population is partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half the nation remains unvaccinated, however, notwithstanding pleas from public health officials, politicians and others adamant about finally ending the ongoing global novel coronavirus pandemic.

“These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for that we went through last year,” said Mr. McConnell.

“This is not complicated. Ninety-seven percent of the people who are in the hospital now for COVID are unvaccinated. So if there’s anybody out there willing to listen, get vaccinated,” said Mr. McConnell.

New polling by CBS News and YouGov showed Republicans are most likely to be unvaccinated against COVID-19. It found 38% of Republicans will not get a vaccine or are unsure, compared to 16% of Democrats.

Indeed, several prominent conservatives – Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, to name just two – have used their platforms to call the vaccines into question recently.

Asked during the news conference if he would speak out publicly against unspecified vaccine skeptics, Mr. McConnell recommended disregarding their suggestions.

“It is not at all unclear that the way to avoid getting back in the hospital is to get vaccinated,” said Mr. McConnell. “I want to encourage everybody to do that, and to ignore all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.”

More than 161 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC, meaning it has been two weeks or more since they got their final dose of a one- or two-dose vaccine.

More than 186 million people, or 56.2% of the population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC, indicating 43.8% of the country has yet to receive even a single shot.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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