Republican doctors in Congress make the pitch: Please get your COVID vaccine

Good stuff here, and it’s no coincidence I’m sure that Democratic MDs were excluded. Republican pols know that they have a special problem with vaccine uptake among their base

…and in an era of crazed partisanship any endorsement from the other side risks alienating members of that base. So they made this pitch a GOP-only affair, hoping to persuade the remaining persuade-ables on the right. Watch, then read on.

Roger Marshall told HuffPost that they worked with Frank Luntz on the messaging. Luntz’s takeaway from his focus groups with vaccine-skeptical Republican voters is that pitches from politicians don’t move them, even when that politician is Trump. What moves them is expert advice from medical professionals whom they trust. That’s why there are (some) white coats on display here: These guys are trying to combine their physician credentials with their Republican credentials to convince hesitant righties that getting vaxxed is the right thing to do medically but also not any kind of betrayal ideologically.

It’s a two-shot dose of encouragement, if you will.

The messaging tracks around the same lines. There’s a little bit of politics — note the salute to Operation Warp Speed — but the most important point is scientific, that there were no steps skipped or corners cut in the vaccine development and approval process. Luntz has heard that complaint repeatedly in his focus groups; you hear the same fear reflected in criticisms that the vaccines are “experimental.” Few messages may deliver more bang for the buck on vaccination than reassurances that nothing was overlooked in bringing the products to market.

Although the recent blood-clot snafu with Johnson & Johnson has complicated that, needless to say.

On the opposite end of the “good advice” spectrum from this Marshall et al. ad lies this new clip from Joe Rogan, who can’t figure out why young adults should get vaccinated:

Good thing this guy doesn’t have a gigantic audience of young adults hanging on his every word.

The flaw in his thinking is the same as it was in Ron Johnson’s last week: If the goal is to reach herd immunity, the point at which all precautions can be dropped because the virus simply isn’t spreading in a meaningful way anymore within the population, then as many people as possible need to be immunized. That includes kids, even though they’re at small risk of serious illness. Every human being is a vector of transmission until they have antibodies, and every vector of transmission is a potential laboratory for some dangerous new variant to emerge. There’s no great individual benefit to kids or 21-year-olds in being vaccinated, but there’s a huge community benefit potentially.

And of course, there are some twentysomethings who do get very sick from COVID despite the low risk. Including some participants in Rogan’s favorite sport.

But oh well. In a messaging competition between Rogan and a bunch of well-meaning but largely anonymous Republican politicians, it’s no contest. Exit question: Was Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, invited to appear in this video as well? If not, why not? If so, why’d he turn it down?

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