The Republican senator from Wisconsin recently gave an interview to a notorious anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) complained on Sunday about "indiscriminate vaccination of everybody," even as America continues to fall short of complete immunity against COVID-19.
Johnson made his comment during an appearance on Fox Business' "Sunday Morning Futures."
"I urge caution from the standpoint of indiscriminate vaccine — vaccination of everybody and then pressuring people to take a vaccine if they don't want to do so," said Johnson. "I was a champion of right to try, but I'm also a champion of right to choose."
Experts have said that 80% of the U.S. population needs to be immunized against the virus to achieve herd immunity, which would impede the further spread of the virus. Currently, about 46% of the population has received at least one dose of the various vaccines, according to the New York Times.
Recent polling by NPR/Marist found that 1 in 4 Americans say they would refuse the vaccine if offered, and Republican men are among the biggest holdouts, according to NPR.
Johnson has opted to encourage questioning of vaccinations over promoting their benefits to the public's health. He recently granted an interview to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has promoted unscientific anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
The senator also said in Dec. 2020, " I don't believe if you have the COVID, you should be taking the vaccine, that there could be some issues there."
In March, he claimed that he would not take the vaccine because he "had COVID" and said " that probably provides me the best immunity possible, actually having had the disease." That runs counter to advice from the Centers for Disease Control, who recommends vaccination even for people who already had COVID-19.
From the May 9 edition of Fox Business' "Sunday Morning Futures":
MARIA BARTIROMO, host: Your thoughts on why this administration is having such a hard time admitting the truth that President Trump galvanized the pharmaceutical industry to come out with a miracle, a vaccine within 10 months, and now Joe Biden wants to blow off all intellectual property rights?
RON JOHNSON: Well first of all, the – President Biden used the COVID crisis to really gain the presidency, and again, the press was part and parcel of his entire campaign effort, and I guess he just simply can't admit that the reason we have all these vaccines is because of what President Trump and Secretary Azar did in terms of squeezing all the economic inefficiencies out of that vaccination process.
Remember a year ago everybody was saying it was impossible to develop a vaccine in less than a few years. And the Trump administration did this in less than a year.
And so again, I celebrate that triumph.
But at the same time, I urge caution from the standpoint of indiscriminate vaccine—vaccination of everybody and then pressuring people to take a vaccine if they don't want to do so. I was a champion of right to try, but I'm also a champion of right to choose.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.