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Rep. Lauren Boebert’s anti-vaccine tweets are hurting an already struggling community

I’ve tried to give U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert a little bit of grace. She’s a mother, like me. Underqualified for her job, like me.  And well, who from the Western Slope hasn’t made questionable decisions at Country Jam. Perhaps, I thought, she would rise to the occasion of representing the 3rd Congressional District in Congress.

She has not.

If Boebert cared half as much about her community and the people who live there as I do, she’d be using her megaphone to encourage people to get a vaccine for COVID-19 instead of spreading false rumors and ramping up fear of the federal government.

Heck, I’d even settle for quiet uncertainty about the vaccine. Instead, we get a callous indifference to the health of her constituents:

Boebert tweeted that last week in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sending scientists to study the Delta variant’s spread in a community with low vaccine rates. She got one thing right in that Tweet. The people on the Western Slope of Colorado are some of the smartest, most caring, thoughtful folks I know – the list includes a whole lot of people I love.

However, when I stopped people outside the downtown Grand Junction post office two weeks ago – a few days before Boebert’s Tweet – I found a shocking amount of vaccine misinformation. Only 40% of eligible people in Mesa County are vaccinated.

One woman equated getting the vaccine to attempting suicide. There have been 5,343 deaths reported following COVID vaccines to the CDC. Only a handful of those deaths were actually caused by the vaccine according to the CDC’s inquiries. But even if all of the reported deaths were caused by the vaccine, the rate of death would be .0017% because more than 310 million people in the U.S. have received at least one COVID vaccine dose. Those odds are significantly better than the high rate of suicide in Mesa County, better than the outcomes of COVID-19 and better than the dangers of driving on the highway.

 

The woman then told me she was more worried about immigrants bringing smallpox to her community than she was about the Delta variant. Smallpox was eradicated in the U.S. in 1949 and globally in 1980. The virus now exists only in research labs, two of them to be exact.

I also interviewed many well-informed people. Some had chosen not to be vaccinated because they were simply unsure of its safety. Boebert would do well to tell these people what she actually knows about the safety of the vaccine instead of leaving her supporters to assume Boebert fears the vaccine is a deadly communist or fascist plot.

I am not unsympathetic to folks who have fears about vaccines. Two of the vaccines use a new technology that didn’t go through full FDA vetting before it received emergency approval, and the other vaccine has caused a handful of people to lose all their platelets and suffer life-threatening blood clots. The medical community is capable of making grave mistakes when it comes to administering medicine that does more harm than good. That is not the case at this point for the COVID vaccines, which seem quite safe.

I’ve seen the life-altering effects of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The case I saw caused paralysis following an immune response to an unknown virus, however, there have historically been links to other vaccines and GBS. The CDC announced this week several cases of GBS have been linked to COVID vaccines, however, doctors also suspect some cases of GBS came from COVID infections.

I’m vaccinated and most of my loved ones are. None of us had severe side effects. I will get my children vaccinated when it is approved for those under the age of 12. I’m not a communist or a Nazi. I considered the information and decided the safer option was to get vaccinated.

Boebert doesn’t like giving people information to make their own decisions. She likes obfuscating the truth for her own political gain at the expense of those who believe her. Listen to her speech on the floor of the U.S. House moments before a riotous mob stormed the Capitol to stop the counting of Electoral College votes. Boebert tried to walk a line between Rudy Giuliani’s crazy assertion of a vast election conspiracy and Sen. Mitt Romney’s sane position that our election security could be better.



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