Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) urged Americans to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19 on Tuesday, calling the rising politicization of vaccines within his party “moronic.”
“It’s grossly misfortunate and a huge human cost to have made vaccination political,” Romney told HuffPost when asked about attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas over the weekend cheering when a speaker noted the U.S. is having trouble reaching its vaccination goals.
“After all, President Trump and his supporters take credit for developing the vaccine, why the heck won’t they take advantage of taking the vaccine they received plaudits for having developed?” the senator added, referring to Operation Warp Speed, the federal vaccine development program that began last year.
There’s an increasing political divide in the U.S. that is translating to who is getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Some of the least vaccinated states and communities, for example, are the most Republican, according to NPR.
But some GOP lawmakers and conservative media personalities are echoing anti-vaccine disinformation. Two Republican congresswomen recently compared the Biden administration’s latest COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which involves officials going door to door to spread information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, to Nazism. Prominent Fox News personalities, meanwhile, have gone in hard on vaccine skepticism.
“There are two hosts of programs on Fox prime time that can only be characterized as anti-vax quacks,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) complained on the Senate floor on Monday. “I’m referring of course to Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.”