Most Americans are turning toward the vaccine, not away from it.
President Joe Biden has the wind of facts at his back.
This, despite boastful voices claiming otherwise.
“To the gates of hell,” was the fire-breathing promise of Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina. His scolding, the proposed scorching, was to declare how far he’d wage battle against Democrats and President Joe Biden rather than see the government press for workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and its variants.
Another screed that found plenty of media time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, proponent of an anti-mask order. He wrote, “Joe Biden has declared war on constitutional government, the rule of law, and the jobs and livelihoods of millions of Americans.”
DeSantis’ false contention was part of a fundraising email.
Meanwhile, others cheered that Biden had finally shown a flicker of spunk in pushing back against naysayers with a flippant, “have at it” following his mandate of the vaccine for some work sectors; federal employees, health care workers and those who are employed by companies of more than 100. Biden’s plan could affect 100 million workers and relies on emergency provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the threat of withholding federal funds and requirements for federal workers and contractors.
Beyond simply being generally more gracious than his critics, it’s possible that Biden is also banking on data.
We’re getting far closer to having at least 75% of the eligible North American public having received at least one shot of the vaccine.
And most had already gotten the shot before Biden threw down a gauntlet.
These facts are largely lost amid the tit-for-tat, and frankly, how some media frame vaccine hesitancy. But the life-affirming news released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came two days after Biden announced his mandate plans.
More than 53% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. At least 26 states have already reached that status too; having more than half of their population vaccinated.
And here’s the really telling statistic, the one that should be blasted in newscasts — 73.7% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The tide is turning. Anti-vaxxers are firmly in the minority. The hesitant, the questioning, those who wanted to wait until the vaccine received full approval by FDA, they too, are increasingly a smaller portion of the population.
And those conservative politicians who are counting on an anti-science stance to carry them through a primary challenge, they’re increasingly out-of-step with a majority of the population.
One more point: Those figures — 53.7% of Americans and 73.7 percent — are even higher as you are reading this. The numbers were as of Sept. 11.
Let’s step back from hyperpartisan attention, from pitting Democrat against Republican and the vaccinated against those who are not, and needless crass commentary about those who needed the reassurance of the FDA approval.
More people are choosing to be vaccinated. They’re doing so, some willingly and eager, others less so.
This speaks to norms and the social science around human behavior. People can be influenced by what others are doing, especially if they are being given accurate and positive information about what’s occurring. Higher vaccination rates will translate to fewer deaths, fewer hospitalizations and our schools and businesses remaining open and functioning, for the benefit of all.
The American public has already demonstrated broad support for the vaccine. Let’s celebrate that fact. And keep those vaccine doses coming.
Readers can reach Mary Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @msanchezcolumn