Broadly amusing, mainly because of how the American left spends so much of its time, in normal times, accusing people who oppose it of being anti-vaxxers.
“With deaths from the coronavirus nearing 200,000 in the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday assailed President Trump for playing politics with a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying he did not trust Mr. Trump to determine when a vaccine was ready for Americans.
“Let me be clear: I trust vaccines,” Mr. Biden said. “I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump, and at this moment, the American people can’t either.”
And Senator Kamala Harris of California, Mr. Biden’s running mate, said this month that if Mr. Trump assured the nation that a vaccine was safe, she would “not take his word for it.”
It’s not just Biden and Harris, by the way. In recent weeks, there have been a whole slew of Democrat candidates up and down the ballot who’ve said some version of “I wouldn’t take or trust a vaccine approved by Donald Trump”.
“Cal Cunningham, the Democratic nominee challenging Sen. Thom Tillis for his North Carolina seat, expressed doubt about the safety of a coronavirus vaccine manufactured under the Trump administration and said during a Sunday night debate between the candidates that he would be “hesitant” to take it.”
What’s the thinking behind their concerns?
Well, it’s that the Government might rush out the vaccine without proper safety trials, just to give Trump a boost before the election.
But how is that any less kooky than someone who says they won’t take a vaccine because they think the Government hasn’t done enough research into the links between vaccines and autism, or whatever? It’s the same impulse, after all – a pure lack of trust.
Except that one of those lacks of trust is treated as evidence of a mind too easily bent towards conspiracy theories, and the other, which is an actual conspiracy theory, is treated as reasonable scepticism because, well, Trump bad, or something.
The paradox here, because of how mad we’ve all gone, of course, is that a not-inconsiderable number of Trump fans, who would be sceptical of a vaccine in normal times, will now be lining up to take a vaccine as soon as he says “go”, to prove their culture war credentials. That’s the America people live in now – nothing really matters, so long as their side is winning.
Anyway, where are we with the vaccine?
Here’s the director of the Centre for Disease Control, yesterday: Ready in November and December, in limited numbers. Generally available for the likes of us? About twelve months away, he says:
Sen. Kennedy: When do you think we'll have a vaccine ready for the public?
CDC Dir. Redfield: Vaccine initially available in Nov.-Dec. but in “very limited supply.” If asking when is it going to be generally available to the American public, you’re looking at late Q2-Q3 2021. pic.twitter.com/AopPUTsd9K
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 16, 2020
Wrong, says Trump. We’ll have it sooner than that:
President Trump: "I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's incorrect information…when he said it I think he was confused." pic.twitter.com/ysq95yQcMx
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 16, 2020
To some extent, you can see what the Democrats are saying. The man is clearly eager to get the vaccine out ASAP, so that he can say “we have a vaccine”.
But that doesn’t mean, incidentally, that he’s rushing it out, or anything like that. What he might be doing is lying about how quickly one can be manufactured, en masse, after it has been approved.
The difference between November and next year isn’t about inventing and approving the vaccine, it’s about producing it in big enough quantities to get it to everyone who wants it.
And the people in charge of approving a vaccine aren’t going to approve something that’s unsafe just to help Trump win an election. They have careers and reputations of their own, after all, and Trump will be gone in either four months, or four years, either way.
The line from Democrats here is irresponsible. But they won’t be called out on it, of course, either in their own country, or here in Ireland.
Because being an anti-vaxxer is bad. Unless, of course, being an anti-vaxxer helps to stop Trump. Then it’s good.