As the COVID-19 numbers reach horrifying new heights in India, with a world record of over 400,000 new cases in a single day, it’s more and more important to get vaccinated and help stop the spread. And yet, even though there is plenty of vaccine supply available in the U.S., many Americans are refusing to get the COVID vaccine. Yes, there have been numerous reports of Americans turning down either the first or second dose of the vaccine.
“Our best way out of this mess long term is clearly vaccines,” argued John Oliver. “These vaccines can save not just your life but the lives of people around you, and it’s genuinely dispiriting that just a few months into the vaccine rollout we are already at this point. And the problem is, for the coronavirus, the herd immunity threshold is thought to be between 70 and 90 percent of the population, but a survey found that while 60 percent of American adults have got—or want to get—the vaccine, and about 18 percent say ‘maybe,’ and 22 percent say ‘no.’”
Unfortunately, there’s been a great deal of false information spread about the vaccines, which have killed exactly zero people to date, including by the popular libertarian podcaster Joe Rogan. So Oliver dedicated nearly his entire Last Week Tonight show on Sunday to combating the misinformation.
“If you’re thinking, Yeah, I’m not sure I’ll need it. Joe Rogan says I’m probably fine. It is true: You might not get seriously sick from COVID—or indeed sick at all—but you could still inadvertently pass it to someone who could then die,” said Oliver. “And before you say, ‘Well, vulnerable people should just get vaccinated then,’ the vaccines are only 95 percent effective… so they’ll probably be OK, but maybe not. Also, the more the virus circulates, the likelier we’ll see mutations that make it more dangerous, possibly helping it to evade the vaccine completely, putting us all the way back to square one, so get the fucking vaccine!”
Oliver then addressed “the disturbing amount of vaccine hesitancy right now,” including the fact that 30 percent of Republicans have said they won’t get it—thanks in part to folks like Rogan and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who asked, “If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people banned from living normal lives?... So maybe it doesn’t work, and they’re simply not telling you that?”
“It is genuinely weird to see someone hosting a show on a supposed news network and ending every sentence with a question mark—especially when answers to most of those questions are out there for anyone who cares to know,” explained Oliver, adding, “That the CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors around vulnerable, unvaccinated people does not mean the vaccine doesn’t work. Clinical trials found that the vaccines are spectacularly successful at preventing people from getting serious disease. As for whether they protect you from spreading the virus, the trials weren’t designed to assess that, but evidence has so far indicated that they drastically reduce transmission. The reason we still see mask and distancing recommendations is that the CDC is being cautious and wants to be sure that it is not spreading bullshit around during a global pandemic like a frozen dinner duke with a TV show.” (Carlson is the heir to a frozen dinner fortune and used to wear a bowtie everywhere.)
Then Oliver tried to dispel many of the myths that have been floating around about the COVID-19 vaccines. For one, and I can’t believe we even have to address this, Bill Gates has not put any microchips in the vaccines (the weird billionaire who’s trying to put microchips in people is Elon Musk, who’s also foolishly pushed vaccine misinformation). The COVID vaccines were some of the most rigorously tested in history, and were able to be released so quickly because researchers have been working on vaccines against other coronaviruses for years, and ran a bunch of steps simultaneously that would have typically been done sequentially. The mRNA technology does not enter the genome or alter your DNA (it can’t as it operates far from the cell’s nucleus), they don’t contain any aborted fetal cells, and they don’t affect your pregnancy (during trials, multiple women became pregnant—and the only person who suffered a pregnancy loss was given a placebo).
“Stop listening to what Joe Rogan tells you, he’s a ‘fucking moron’—and those are his words, not mine,” offered Oliver.
Plus: “No side effect of the vaccine is worse than the alternative—COVID.”