Vice President Kamala Harris got the ball rolling on the politicization of COVID-19 vaccines when she declared at her sole vice presidential debate that she would not roll up her sleeve to take the jab approved by regulators under the Trump administration, Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, said.
“That put us in a totally different area that allowed it to be politicized and that politicization is just continuing now” he told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
President Biden recently announced a new mandate to get more Americans to sign up to take a COVID-19 jab because about 80 million people in the country have refused to voluntarily sign up for the shot. One of the main reasons is that people are skeptical of potential side effects and their effectiveness.
Harris, in October, used the coronavirus outbreak and the federal government’s response as an example of what she identified as the Trump administration’s shortcomings. She indicated that she would be skeptical of former President Trump’s involvement in any vaccine rollout.
“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I’m not taking it,” she said.
Her critics said that comment planted the seed of doubt in the minds of Americans and the issue suddenly became political. Her supporters say that Trump was cavalier when it came to the virus and it was fair that she had legitimate doubts.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was interviewed on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty & Levin,” told host, Mark Levin, that Harris and other Democrats need to “stop playing politics with people’s lives by undermining confidence in a safe and effective vaccine.”
Pence said Trump has tried to speed up the vaccine through initiatives like Operation Warp Speed, but said no corners have been cut when it comes to safety. He said any vaccine that would be released to the public would be vetted and approved by several agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration.
“So to have Kamala Harris say, two, three times in a row that she would refuse to take the vaccine that was produced under the Trump administration” is unconscionable, he said.
Harris’ office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Politifact reported that Harris was asked in a month before the debate if she would take the vaccine and she responded, “Well, I think that’s going to be an issue for all of us. I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump. And it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about. I will not take his word for it. He wants us to inject bleach. I — no, I will not take his word.”
The report pointed out that Biden even questioned any vaccine delivered during the Trump years.
“Look at what’s happened. Enormous pressure put on the CDC not to put out the detailed guidelines. The enormous pressure being put on the FDA to say they’re going, that the following protocol will in fact reduce, it will have a giant impact on COVID. All these things turn out not to be true, and when a president continues to mislead and lie, when we finally do, God willing, get a vaccine, who’s going to take the shot? Who’s going to take the shot? You going to be the first one to say, ‘Put me — sign me up, they now say it’s OK’? I’m not being facetious.”
Biden and Harris have been major vaccine supporters.
“My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We have made vaccinations free, safe, & convenient. The vaccine is FDA approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said at a press conference on Thursday.