Commentary: Government’s Failed COVID Messaging Is to Blame for Vaccine Hesitancy

by Victor Davis Hanson


It was always going to be Herculean to inoculate, with an untried vaccine, a multi-ethnic nation of 330 million, across a vast continent—in an era when the media routinely warps the daily news.

Some minorities understandably harbored distrust of prior government vaccination programs.

Nearly 40 million foreign residents in America are from countries where corrupt governments had long ago lost the trust of the population.

The anti-vaccination movement was distrustful of what the government said was safe—given the rush to produce previously untried mRNA inoculation methodologies.

Rural and inner-city poor were sometimes not so easily reached, much less persuaded.

Yet politics played the most obstructive role early on. Candidate Joe Biden talked grandly of reviving the World War II war production board. He deliberately omitted that it was Donald Trump who emulated FDR’s mobilization of private enterprise under government auspices.

Trump offered legal protections for companies to accelerate their research and development—in hopes that competition, profits, and public oversight would result in COVID-19 vaccinations just 10 months after the pandemic hit.

And it worked. Mostly safe and effective vaccinations were rolled out shortly after the election. Some 17 million were inoculated by the time of Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.

Yet Dr. Anthony Fauci, in the days when he still posed as a bipartisan professional, had dismissed the idea of any viable vaccination in the election year 2020. Joe Biden publicly doubted that Trump’s vaccination efforts would either work or be safe.

In a nationally televised debate, vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris shamefully said she would never be vaxxed with any shot associated with President Trump. All that proved disastrous messaging for an already skeptical nation.

Pfizer had promised a breakthrough vaccination announcement in late October on the eve of the election. Then it mysteriously went silent—only to suddenly announce its successful  vaccination, just a few days after the November 3 voting.

Joe Biden continued the politicization of the vaccination program by bizarrely and falsely declaring on CNN that there had been no vaccinations given until he entered office. Yet Biden himself was first vaccinated on December 21 on live television.

Soon Biden grandly promised that all those who were vaccinated would be safe from infection from the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus. And thus they could resume normal lives without masks, quarantines, or social distancing.

Those who refused vaccinations were almost immediately equated in the media to Trump supporters, reviving the Left’s clingers/deplorables/irredeemables/dregs/chumps narrative of uneducated, white, and idiotic resistance to government.

The truth was that apart from Asian Americans, whites were percentage-wise the most vaccinated of the population. Elites charged that backward southern states like Alabama and Mississippi were not just lagging in their inoculation rates, but endangering vaccinated Americans by resuscitating a now constantly mutating virus.

Again, in truth, low vaccination rates among African-American populations in the South were a chief but unspoken reason why majorities there were not inoculated.

Once the so-called Delta variant arrived in force in early summer, the government’s earlier assurances that the vaccinated were now free to resume a normal life lost credibility. Weekly confused and mixed messages followed—simultaneously both downplaying and exaggerating the efficacy of the vaccinations.

In reality, most who were vaccinated were almost assured that they would not become seriously ill from COVID-19, would likely not need hospitalization, and almost certainly would not die from it.

No matter. The media-government fusion now blame-gamed unvaccinated “super-spreaders” for sometimes infecting those already vaccinated—as if the over 100 million adults still not fully vaccinated were red-state rubes who packed honky-tonk bars and motorcycle rallies.

Yet the reality was quite different.

Last summer over 1,000 medical providers had given blanket exemptions solely to BLM protestors, dangerously to mass in the streets for weeks on end to demonstrate.

Currently, two million illegal aliens are scheduled to cross the southern border in the next year—with legal impunity, but without vaccinations, or COVID-19 tests, or lectures from Washington.

A recent breakout of COVID-19, among even the vaccinated in Provincetown, Massachusetts, was not due to alt-right Neanderthals. It was attributable to the annual gay pride celebrations where some thousands of partiers swarmed bars, clubs, restaurants, and hotels.

Former President Barack Obama was scheduled to host 500 guests and 200 staffers at his Martha’s Vineyard estate—when the government was again insisting masks be worn almost everywhere.

Don’t look to COVID-19 czar Dr. Fauci to clear things up. He has already confessed he had lied about masks and herd immunity—allegedly for the people’s own good. Fauci still denies he helped fund dangerous gain-of-function viral research at the Wuhan virology lab—at ground zero of the later coronavirus pandemic.

If the Biden Administration cannot vaccinate half of America, or assure vaccinated Americans that COVID-19 mutants won’t seriously hurt them or rekindle the earlier pandemic, then it might first look in the mirror before casting stones at others.

– – –

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won and The Case for Trump.
Photo “Vaccine Protest” by Shannon Melton.











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3 Thoughts to “Commentary: Government’s Failed COVID Messaging Is to Blame for Vaccine Hesitancy”

  1. Wolf Woman

    I admire Dr. Hanson but he’s not on the point with this article. As LM says, “They can read.” I can also hear and see. I’ve watched videos of experts including those of the Great Barrington Declaration, the doctor who discovered the mRNA experimental therapy and the former head of Pfizer’s Development labs, etc. They are all skeptical of the jabs, recognizing it is the greatest medical EXPERIMENT without scientific basis in the history of mankind.

    And then there is the collusion of the government, Big Pharma and social media billionaire technocrats who would have us believe they know how we should live. Will I turn over my life, my liberty and the pursuit of my happiness to them? Never!

  2. 83ragtop50

    I believe that the majority who have chosen to pass of the as of yet officially approved vaccines are actually people who are not part of the cattle herd now populating the large cities. Rather they actually have the capability of making their own decisions. Besides who can believe anything coming out of the federal government including its supposed medical experts such as Fauci? You know, those “experts” who change their opinions on a daily basis.

  3. LM

    People are not getting “vaccinated” because THEY CAN READ. The southeast region of the country has always been jeered at and put upon by other regions. Notice , though, how many of those a**holes can’t get here fast enough now that their blue states have went to sh*t. The corrupt governments realize people are on to the ineffectiveness and high risk ( which they also lie about) of the shot. They want to continue to pretend that the shots work so they can look like they’re doing something about the “pandemic”. Not to mention their new-found overreach of power. I love Donald Trump. I would vote for him again. He is not a Dr. , however. I don’t think he had any choice but to promote the jab.