Neil Cavuto to Fox viewers: I beg you, for the sake of people like me, get vaccinated

A few times after he’s criticized Trump at length on his show, he’s devoted a segment the next day to reading some of the hate mail he got.

He should do that for this clip too once he’s back on the air full-time.


He’s gotten some hate mail already, he tells Howard Kurtz in the clip below, simply because he credited the vaccine for protecting him after he was recently diagnosed with COVID. Cavuto has survived open-heart surgery, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and now SARS-CoV-2 despite being immunocompromised. It’s remarkable that he looked and sounded as good as he did in yesterday’s interview despite being afflicted with so many comorbidities before he contracted a disease that’s killed 700,000 Americans. The vaccine really might have saved his life. Now he’s humbly asking Fox viewers to bear that in mind if they’re still making up their minds to get the shot, knowing that vaccination reduces transmission.

I bet the response ends up being even more vicious than it is when he scolds our former president.

Here’s the sort of mentality he’s up against even on his own network:

Pro-vaxxers often caricature conservative anti-vaxxers’ position by accusing them of “risking serious illness to own the libs” but I’d never seen someone actually take that position until I saw Lisa Boothe say that giving the finger to Biden is part of her calculus in avoiding the shot.


Basing your health decisions on partisan spite rather than on what’s best for your health seems sub-optimal. And unnecessary. After all, it’s still possible to be personally pro-vax but firmly anti-mandate (e.g., Ron DeSantis), isn’t it?

Boothe is right that her risk of death from COVID as a young woman is small but death and total recovery aren’t the only two options. What about debilitation?

Many people who have recovered from Covid-19 infection are still experiencing cognitive impairment more than seven months later, according to new research…

The most common cognitive deficit — affecting nearly in 1 in 4 patients — was a problem with storing new memories, followed by issues with memory recall. Other challenges reported were deficits in processing speed and executive functioning, which includes the ability to initiate, plan, organize and make judgments…

Seeing severe mental deficits in patients in their 20s, 30s and 40s is “heartbreaking,” said Dr. Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Post-Covid Clinic. Some say “they cannot function; they can’t think; their memory is impaired; they get confused when they drive places, that they don’t know how they got there.”


One neurologist at Northwestern Medical Center told NBC that he’s seen some patients so cognitively impaired after COVID that they couldn’t care for themselves after being released. That’s not the only scientific evidence of the virus damaging the brains of the infected either.

As for Cavuto’s communitarian plea to get vaccinated if only for the sake of those around you, his timing couldn’t have been worse. Republicans are more individualistic in outlook than Democrats are by nature but especially so lately as Biden has gotten more aggressive about mandates, polarizing the parties around that issue. “Your neighbor’s health depends on you getting your shots” is a strong argument in favor of mandates even though Cavuto’s clear that he’s asking people to get vaccinated by choice, not under compulsion. It’s why DeSantis has begun emphasizing the personal benefits from vaccination lately, like protecting the recipient from severe illness, while downplaying the vaccine’s ability to limit transmission. The more the threat from COVID is framed in terms of individual risk calculus the weaker the case for mandates gets since each person is asked to take responsibility only for their own health. Cavuto’s fighting back against that here by encouraging a more communitarian risk calculus.


It won’t be well received by the target audience.

It makes me think back to Scott Gottlieb’s warning after Biden announced the federal mandate. The president ordering the private sector to get vaccinated is a recipe for partisan antagonism over vaccine mandates, said Gottlieb, and that antagonism won’t be limited to just the COVID vaccine long-term. Biden’s announcement did some immediate good by twisting the arms of many holdouts into getting their shots but the jury’s out on whether it’s more trouble culturally and politically than it’s worth.

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David Strom 5:20 PM | April 19, 2024