Is Mitch McConnell actually trying to do the right thing?
We’re not sure we’d go that far, but the U.S. Senator from Kentucky is urging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, so that’s something.
McConnell appears in a new public service announcement about coronavirus vaccination, just as Kentucky experiences a months-long, sustained rise in COVID-19 cases among its residents.
In the television spot, McConnell sits on a stool in front of a black background and speaks directly to the camera.
“As a boy, I fought polio. Today, America’s been polio-free for 40 years, thanks to vaccination. We’ll beat COVID-19 with vaccines, too,” McConnell says in the PSA. “Protect yourself and your family. Get vaccinated.”
As a boy I fought polio. Today, America’s been polio-free for 40 years thanks to vaccination. We’ll beat COVID-19 with vaccines too. Protect yourself and your family. Get vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/7rtr7cqOD2
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) September 1, 2021
The TV spot is a joint effort between the National Association of Broadcasters and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association and began airing nationwide last week. McConnell also had participated in radio spots about vaccination earlier this summer.
McConnell has been vocal about his vaccine support but largely has kept quiet as his Republican colleagues have both cast doubt about vaccine and mask effectiveness and have outright lied about pandemic-related issues. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a U.S. Representative from Georgia, has compared mask mandates to Nazi Germany and private business vaccine requirements to segregation.
In August, YouTube put a seven-day hold on McConnell’s fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s account because Paul had posted a video falsely stating that wearing cloth face masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 is “dangerous or causes negative physical health effects.”
And in 2020, former President Donald Trump had suggested without merit that ultraviolet light or “disinfectant” could be used to “cleanse” a body of the coronavirus. Scientists and medical experts loudly said — and continue to say — that those methods were not tested, approved or recommended.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a variety of other medical agencies and associations have long recommended a combination of masking and vaccination to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, particularly as the highly transmissible Delta variant has become dominant.
Based on science and data, infectious disease experts have deemed COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Aug. 23 — the first approval among the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines retain emergency use authorization status for now.
Pfizer was the nation’s first company to have applied for full FDA approval for adults. Moderna also has applied and is being reviewed. Johnson & Johnson says it will submit its application later this year. All vaccine manufacturers will also continue to conduct trials and seek approval for use in teens and children.
CNN reports that when a journalist asked McConnell about his silence as Republicans have spread misinformation, he simply said, “I think the best thing for me to do is to say how I feel about it and to try to encourage those people who care what I think to do right thing.”
This article was originally published by our sister paper CityBeat.