What The Poor Vaccination Rate Says About America

What The Poor Vaccination Rate Says About America


Leonard Zwelling

It looks like the United States will fall short of President Biden’s goal of having 70% of Americans vaccinated against covid with at least one shot by July 4. Why?

The easiest explanation would be a lack of available vaccine. This is simply not the case. There are millions of doses unused as of now and there were whole parking lots devoted to rapid inoculation that remain empty. Despite this, about 177 million Americans have received at least one shot yet many states, especially in the South, have vaccination rates around 30%. That’s a disaster for the country and for those unvaccinated Americans.

If supply is not the problem for the low rates of vaccination then demand must be. It is.

As this blog recently noted, it is a more Republican group that is unvaccinated and many of them are white evangelicals. There are also the poor who don’t trust government in any form and of course there are the anti-vaxxers who make up stories about autism and inserted microchips to scare people away from doing a simple thing that could save their lives and those of their family members, particularly those under 12 who are not yet eligible for the shot.

I have now spent four paragraphs beating around the bush with regard to why Americans are not getting inoculated. The real reasons are mistrust in authority, distrust of science, ignorance of facts and just plain ignorance.

I have a friend whose wife thinks the entire coronavirus pandemic is a hoax. There are still people who think it’s no worse than the flu despite 600,000 Americans having died already. There is an entire industry of “what-aboutism” with regard to the virus, but here are the facts.

This virus is deadly. It has killed millions around the world. The Chinese from whose shores it emanated have yet to be held responsible for its dissemination and it could all happen again tomorrow because we are minimally better prepared than we were in early 2020 for a global pandemic. It’s no wonder so many don’t trust the federal government. But in all fairness, it was the Trump Administration who started Operation Warp Speed and the Biden folks who have made so much progress despite all the obstacles.

I believe that the real culprit for our poor national response to the virus is our deplorable education system that teaches neither science nor civics. Most people don’t even know what RNA is or how their own immune system works. They also have no idea what the Congress ought to be doing to address the needs of the American people who those 535 elected officials are supposed to be protecting.

It is my contention that the entire school curriculum ought to be altered. Science is more important than ever. Everyone should know how a car and a computer works, how to do algebra, and something about how his or her own body works. All Americans must study the Constitution, not just read it. Finally, there needs to be a great deal of education about reading newspapers (or web sites if you must) and judging the degree of nonsense presented on television garbed as factual news, which it is not. And I don’t just mean on Fox. MSNBC and CNN are just as bad. The producers and on-air talent are wholly irresponsible in the way they write and present the news. Maybe only PBS gets it sort of right by giving each story sufficient depth, but they still slant it leftward.

The U.S. has been victimized by a virus imported from the Far East. Who knows where the next one will come from or whether or not this was an act of malevolence or just nature’s revenge?

First, China must submit to an external and independent audit of the manner in which they handled the initial infection and whether or not the virus came from a lab there. If they won’t do that, then the rest of the world should boycott their products until they do.

Second, President Biden needs a commission to make a report to the American people in ninety days sketching out the steps we need to take now to be ready for the next pandemic.

Third, all students must be vaccinated to go to any school. Period. The same with any government workplace. Private businesses that jump on board and demand vaccinations of their employees in order to work should get a 1% tax credit.

Fourth, the Department of Education needs to develop a standard curriculum to teach science that matters to everyone. If the local schools won’t do it, develop a web site. Kids are getting used to remote learning and the least they can learn is something useful.

America has to get serious about getting smarter. In the end, it is our ignorance that is killing us and for that there is only one solution. Knowledge.

2 thoughts on “What The Poor Vaccination Rate Says About America”

  1. Great op-ed again!
    Our flight through life should not only be powered by our knowledge but also our collective civic responsibility. We are lacking both now in too many Americans as you so eloquently describe. And, your suggestions for what should be learned in a standard education are so reasonable, and yet we continue to slide into the ignorance of the Internet and the lack of compassion for one another.
    Those who believe in a better nation need to continue to stand up for better education and community responsibilities!
    Count me in!

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