On Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden publicly took the new FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. He received the first of two shots at ChristianaCare Hospital, which isn’t far from his Wilmington, Del., basement. His vaccination was televised.
“I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it’s available, to take the vaccine,” Biden said. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
Strong words from someone who mere months ago was publicly sowing the seeds of distrust in a COVID-19 vaccine.
“As we enter the height of election season, President Trump should assure us all that the White House will respect the independent authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to decide, free from political pressure, if the vaccine is safe and effective,” Biden said in July.
Kamala Harris was no better. When CNN’s Dana Bash asked her about a COVID-19 vaccine and whether “the public health experts and the scientists will get the last word” on its efficacy, Kamala responded, “If past is prologue, then they will not. They’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined,” without providing any evidence of this. She said this was because Trump is “looking at an election coming up in less than sixty days, and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he’s been a leader on this issue when he’s not.”
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris contributed to a dramatic drop in public trust in a vaccine. A Morning Consult poll in September showed only 51 percent of Americans were willing to take the vaccine, a 21-point drop from April.
And it was all politics. President Trump had been confident that a vaccine would be available before the end of the year. A vaccine that quick was unprecedented and some experts even said it would take a miracle. Such a miracle, if it happened before the election, would have been devastating for the Biden-Harris ticket, so they spent months suggesting that any vaccine that came in 2020 would be unsafe. While serious reactions to the vaccine are rare, the two vaccines now approved by the FDA have been deemed safe.
But since this happened after the election, Joe Biden no longer has to make the public fear the vaccination and accuse Trump of politicizing the approval process for political reasons. Had he not been publicly sowing distrust in the virus for months, his televised vaccination would not have been necessary.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis