On August 18th 2021 the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American democracy hosted an event titled Vaccine Hesitancy: The Politics of Public Health in Tennessee. The Panel included Dr. Alex Jahangir, orthopedic surgeon and Executive Medical Director of the Center for Trauma, Paul Mango, former deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in the Trump Administration and Former U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, MD, U.S. Representative for Tennessee’s 1st congressional district.
Almost every issue within the United States causes division and the COVID vaccine has been added to the list of controversy between parties. At the start of the pandemic, professionals were worried that minorities would be unable to get vaccines and also show more opposition towards it, however, studies show that political affiliation is what widens the gap of vaccinations. Misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine spreads rapidly due to social media and this could be causing health issues within the country.
You may hear throughout the media or even in friend groups that Republicans are anti-vaxxers and that democrats are pro vaccine. Just last week, when I was discussing the rise in COVID numbers, one of my friends stated that it was because of the Republican ran states. Even though polls show that most Trump and Republican supporters are against the vaccine, why has a public health issue become so bipartisan?
Masks are not effective.
The COVID vaccines can affect a woman’s fertility.
The COVID vaccines were not rigorously tested, which is why they have only emergency authorization approval and not full Food and Drug Administration approval.
The vaccine will change your DNA.
The government is the one that created Covid and the Vaccine to control the population.
People deserve to have questions about the vaccines but spreading some of these examples of misinformation around platforms does not help the country get back a version of normal. Politicians should provide an open space for dialogue on both sides of the spectrums equipped with positive feedback and directions that people can take.
Covid-19 affects everybody, whether you’re Republican or Democrat because it’s a nonpartisan infector of the body. One key takeaway of the event that Paul Mango, former deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services stated was that the Covid- 19 vaccine should be a topic between you and your physician and not between you and the government.