Biden and Allies Stoked Vaccine Fears

Seeking to undermine Trump, Democrats, media and scientists made false and alarming claims.

President Biden has proposed an “unprecedented” information campaign to persuade people to get Covid-19 vaccinations. Why, when a pandemic has killed 500,000 Americans, does the public need to be convinced? In part because Mr. Biden and his allies spent 2020 stoking fear for political reasons.

The Biden campaign and scientists allied with it impugned the Food and Drug Administration’s independence and integrity. Kamala Harris maligned President Trump’s claims about the speed of vaccine development and questioned its safety and effectiveness. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo cast doubt on FDA evaluations of Covid-19 vaccines and said states should conduct their own reviews. An Aug. 27 letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking governors for help setting up vaccine distribution elicited a statement from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer questioning the safety of the vaccines in development. Media “fact checkers” said rapid vaccine development would take a “miracle.”

Between April 1-14 and Nov. 25-Dec. 8 the share of Americans who told pollsters they were likely to consent to vaccination declined from 74% to 56%, even though Pfizer and Moderna released strong vaccine safety and effectiveness results prior to the second survey. The decline occurred in both sexes and all age groups, education levels and racial groups. Many medical workers, including nursing-home staff, are also hesitant to be vaccinated.

Medical authorities were complicit in stoking these fears. Although June FDA guidance confirmed the agency wouldn’t “cut corners” and that expedited development would proceed “without sacrificing our standards for quality, safety, and efficacy,” a Sept. 10 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed that “some” were concerned that political appointees would “insist” on authorizing a vaccine “over the recommendation of FDA career scientists.” The concerned “some” were never named, and no citation was given.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.