Without Enough Boots on the Ground, California’s Vaccination Efforts Falter

Lambert here: “Boots on the ground” is a cliché I hate almost as much as “shots in arms.” From the article:

[The Newsom administration is] hampered by its inconsistent and hastily developed public messaging and outreach campaign that relies too heavily on private advertising firms and companies such as Google and Blue Shield of California.

Ka-ching. And no mention, no mention at all, of targeting the workplace. It’s like liberal Democrats wear special glasses that render the workplace invisible.

By Angela Hart, correspondent for California Healthline, who covers California health politics and policy in Sacramento and around the state, with a focus on the governor, the legislature and key elections. Originally published at Kaiser Health News.

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom routinely boasts that California has “one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States of America.”

But Newsom, facing a recall election this fall, rarely mentions that the state’s covid vaccine uptake has largely stagnated in Black and Latino neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus, and in rural outposts where opposition to vaccines runs rampant. In these communities, deep distrust of government and the U.S. health care system has collided with the state’s high-stakes effort to finish vaccinating its 34 million vaccine-eligible residents.

These are places where state health officials believe they can change a significant number of minds. But the Newsom administration is struggling to do so, public health experts say, hampered by its inconsistent and hastily developed public messaging and outreach campaign that relies too heavily on private advertising firms and companies such as Google and Blue Shield of California.

“Many people don’t trust information being put out about vaccines because it’s coming from private companies that have profit-seeking motives,” said Dr. Tony Iton, a senior vice president at the California Endowment, which focuses on expanding health care access for Californians. Iton served as Alameda County’s public health officer from 2003 to 2009.

What actually works, Iton and other public health experts say, are well-funded, locally designed operations led by organizations that have built trust with residents and are capable of going door to door to dispel vaccine mythology, such as local nonprofits, county health departments and community clinics.

But California’s 61 local public health departments have been stunted by years of declining revenue, budget cuts and staff reductions that have stymied their ability to conduct the expensive and time-consuming public health outreach campaigns necessary to combat vaccine skepticism and hesitancy.

“When something like covid-19 comes along, local knowledge is absolutely invaluable in reaching every pocket of that community, particularly in building trust in vulnerable populations,” Iton said. “The state doesn’t have that, Google doesn’t have that, and certainly Blue Shield doesn’t have that.”

Even the Newsom administration’s internal polling shows its efforts are faltering.

“The resounding barrier to vaccination,” state officials wrote in the latest survey published in June, “has been confusion as a result of inconsistent, contradictory or insufficient messaging from government and public health officials.”

Statewide, nearly 60% of Californians are fully vaccinated, but progress is uneven. Just 39% of eligible Black residents and 40% of Latinos had been vaccinated as of Friday, and local public health officials are intensely worried about regions like the Central Valley, where vaccination rates have stalled, especially given the threat of covid’s dangerous delta variant. Similar disparities exist by geography, across regions and even among neighborhoods.

The state’s vaccine holdouts make up a cohort that cuts across political and geographic ideologies and is dominated by Latinos, African Americans, rural residents and young people. Unlike outright vaccine “rejecters,” who lean Republican, undecideds align with Democrats, according to state polling.

State officials are trying to change the minds of both “undecideds” and “rejecters,” and are relying primarily on vaccine lotteries with giveaways totaling $116.5 million or vacation packages, and glitzy advertising campaigns featuring paid social media influencers. The state has awarded two $40 million contracts to high-dollar ad agencies for vaccine outreach and education.

Companies including Facebook, Google, Comcast and TikTok are providing free advertising on social media, radio and TV, and making charitable contributions to help the state fund its public education campaigns, state records show.

Lackluster vaccination uptake drove the Newsom administration to pursue the more personal approach that public health experts favor, but the still-nascent campaign leaves out large swaths of the state. The administration launched its “Get Out the Vax” campaign in April, enlisting 70 community-based organizations and 2,000 community canvassers, now focused on Los Angeles and Central Valley neighborhoods where vaccinations have plateaued or declined.

But county public health officials say the campaign isn’t big enough to combat the vaccine misinformation that has infiltrated regions such as California’s rural north.

“It’s terrible,” said Placer County’s health officer, Dr. Rob Oldham, who said misinformation is driving vaccines down. “Unfortunately, the lottery didn’t really help us. We’re working so much harder to get a dozen people vaccinated, whereas before we were doing close to 1,500 shots a day.”

State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly acknowledged that the state must boost its presence on the ground and said it “needs to do better and more.” At the same time, he and other state officials argue that the vaccine lottery is working and that they are seeing progress in hard-hit neighborhoods.

This month the state debuted pop-up vaccine clinics at McDonald’s restaurants in 11 counties, and state-funded outreach workers have fanned out in neighborhoods such as South Los Angeles to sign people up for appointments or vaccinate takers from a roving van. Vaccine canvassers report that the people who don’t want the vaccines say they’re concerned about safety or repeat sometimes outrageous rumors, such as the false assertion that vaccines turn people into zombies.

“We’re seeing lots of disinformation and lack of a sense of urgency,” said Yolanda Richardson, secretary of the California Government Operations Agency and Newsom’s “vaccination czar.” “The work that we have left to do is really finding out what each individual person needs to make that jump.”

Carnella Marks of Oroville, in Butte County, offers a telling case of how hard public health officials must work to cut through the thick swamp of misinformation and confusion.

Marks, 51, who is Black, has deep misgivings about the safety of the vaccines that are rooted in the country’s racist history and her personal experience: When she was pregnant with her second child, her doctor suggested she get a hysterectomy even though she wasn’t ready to stop having kids and had no health complications. She wonders if the U.S. government is experimenting on Black people, as it did on African American men in the Tuskegee syphilis study from the 1930s into the 1970s.

“Why do they want us to take the vaccine so bad?” Marks asked. “We’ve never been first in line for anything, but now all of a sudden you want to make sure that the African American community gets the vaccine?”

She had considered getting vaccinated because she thought it might be required for work — until government officials paused the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot over concerns it caused blood clots.

“I don’t care what kind of money the governor is shelling out to get me to take the vaccine,” said Marks, who wants to discuss the safety of the vaccines with someone who knows. But “nobody’s knocking on my door to talk to me or answer my questions.”

Public health experts say it could be possible to change the minds of people like Marks with targeted and relentless outreach by trusted members of the community who acknowledge their fears and mistrust of the medical system. A knock on the door or phone call from an epidemiologist who can explain the science behind vaccinations couldn’t hurt, they added.

“So many of these people really aren’t vaccine hesitant; they’re just trying to figure out the facts for themselves and get their questions answered,” said Oldham of Placer County.

But the county can’t afford its own campaign, so Oldham said it “Placerizes” state material, adapting messaging for its residents.

“What we’ve seen from the state, frankly, is a lack of investment and interest in public health,” he said. “I think it builds trust when you have the resources to call people back and tailor a message, but honestly we don’t really have that capacity.”

Some counties have committed scarce funds to develop ads targeting populations among whom distrust runs rampant, an effort they say has helped boost vaccination rates. Santa Clara County, for instance, has plowed at least $8.6 million into an outreach campaign and public service announcements related to covid since March 2020, including Spanish-language ads targeting the county’s large Latino population.

Health officer Dr. Sara Cody said the county has also enlisted the help of local health clinics, nonprofit groups and county employees of various ethnicities to develop messages that might persuade people to get vaccinated.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate,” Cody said. “That investment turned out to be one of the most useful. People do have fears, and we want to hear them.”

About 73% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated, while other counties with fewer public health resources, like Placer, have struggled to mount effective campaigns. There, about 48% of residents are fully vaccinated.

Vaccine canvassers say they are making progress by using personal stories and discussing the science behind the vaccines.

Ricardo Márquez, a state-funded vaccine outreach worker in South Los Angeles, said he has changed minds.

“Sometimes facts and science work, but sometimes people who don’t believe change their minds when I tell them people are dying, like my sweet grandma,” Márquez said.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. PlutoniumKun

    I think this is where the ‘vaccines will save us’ strategy will succeed or fail. And in many countries, including the US, it looks like it will fail. If you can’t get more than (estimates keep varying) 60-80% of the populated vaccinated. With more variants on the way, if you can’t get a high vaccination rate, and you aren’t doing anything else to stop it, then thats a recipe for an endemic disease problem.

    In Europe, its varying widely. Ireland just purchased one million shots from Romania, because of poor take up in the latter country, and high take up in Ireland. Why there should be such a wide variation, I’ve really no idea.

    1. David

      Yup, I’ve been saying this for, oh, the best part of a year now. Vaccines will not save us. Vaccines are necessary, but not sufficient as a solution, and the idea that just producing, or even donating, vaccines will automatically result in people being vaccinated, adequately and to schedule, is something only an MBA could take seriously. Already in Europe there’s talk of a third dose before the end of the year, and it’s being suggested that annual vaccinations will be needed as for flu. Imagine trying to vaccinate 80% of the world’s population reliably and to schedule every year for the foreseeable future. Imagine the number of people that would take,the logistic challenges, the political problems …. I have a feeling we have stubbed our toe against a problem which has no practical solution. I was hoping that the global North might at least lead the way by doing things correctly, but evidently not.
      I think the problem is insoluble in the global North because, for forty years now, we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that every action in our lives should be based on getting the biggest short-term economic benefit, or utility, if you like, and private companies and even governments now assume that we are all logically and rationally motivated to do just that. All problems can be solved by offering the right product at the right price. Except now we find they can’t.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Annual mRNA neo-vaccinoid boosters? No. If that is the plan, I will just wait for a genuine real dead-or-attenuated real-virus classical vaccine.

        Meanwhile, I will continue living my semi-shut-in life ( except for work) and keep masking and avoiding places where large numbers of people gather and etc.

        And I will look more seriously than I have so far into the various parallel dissident approaches to personal virus resistance/combat.

        1. Ian Ollmann

          Where is Marlin Perkins when you need him to bag and tag these vaccine deniers?

    2. Whatdoiknow

      Eastern European countries are much more skeptical of government initiatives given their past. Notwithstanding the merits of vaccine, communication methods and propaganda used in western world currently look a lot like in Soviet times.
      It’s hard to miss the similarities when you just went through 50 years of communism.

    3. David

      A long comment of mine posted some hours ago looks as if it will never emerge from moderation now. Just very briefly, yes, I agree. Producing and even donating vaccines is the relatively simple bit. Getting them into enough people, often enough, for the disease to be conquered globally, well, that’s a bit more difficult and if we don’t do it the disease will become endemic. It’s hard to even begin to think what the consequences of that would be.

  2. Rod

    “Take It or Leave It” is the tacit messaging I’m perceiving from our Great State.
    Judging from the masks I still occasionally see when out and about, about 9 out of 10 appear vaccinated despite our 40% Official Rate.
    Kinda creepy for me—but I keep it to myself.

    1. Ian Ollmann

      I wouldn’t take masks as a sign of anything. My family is vaccinated except for our 9 year old. We wear masks whenever we enter a building that isn’t our home.

  3. The Rev Kev

    Not really surprised here. So in California they are relying on lottery stunts, launching a “Get Out the Vax” campaign, having pop-up vaccine clinics at McDonald’s restaurants, committing scarce funds to develop ads with an outreach campaign and public service announcements, etc. It all sounds like the sort of stuff that would come out of focus groups and brain-storming sessions. What is not there is trust. Simple trust. People have serious questions and answers are not really forthcoming.

    Considering the fact that they are making potentially life-changing decisions with not enough information to make a proper evaluation, can you blame their hesitation? Because of how poorer people have been treated for decades, of course they would be mistrustful when the State is suddenly acting like something out of the 1950s and trying to put together a mass vaccination campaign. They know exactly where they are on the totem pole and would be wondering for whose benefit these vaccinations are for.

    California may be learning what Stephen R. Covey said decades ago about being unable to talk your way out of a situation that you have behaved your way into.

    1. Objective Ace

      > People have serious questions and answers are not really forthcoming.

      The answers aren’t forthcoming because we dont know them. This is a new vaccine and the CDC isnt even bothering following up with recipients after they take it. Quite frankly, its a wonder there’s been as much trust as there has been. In light of that, I’d say the brain-storming media/advertsing blitz and outreach has worked pretty successfully.

      1. juno mas

        The advertising blitz came after all the easier jab participants had received theirs. (Approximately 60% in my coastal county.) The state has said the lottery to encourage participation was effective, but I’ve seen no data that supports that claim.

        There appear to be numerous rationales for not taking the vaccine. They run the gamut of political, cultural, familiarity with the healthcare system, and access/time pressure. A healthcare system that is difficult to access regularly doesn’t instill confidence in many. And that seems to have translated into vaccine intransigence. (There are Latinx college students in my town that still haven’t been vaccinated, even though it will be required to attend campus without a mask.)

        The million dollar lottery probably would have been better spent on boots in the barrio and funding of local public health departments. If the Delta variant explodes in the unvaccinated, social distancing may get a reprise.

    2. Basil Pesto

      having pop-up vaccine clinics at McDonald’s restaurants

      I feel like this is something Chris Arnade would approve of

    3. Ian Ollmann

      To be fair, California is being singled out here despite the fact that it’s vax rate is in the top quintile. Part of the problem is minority communities, language barriers, etc. It is also the case that parts of California are as red as any red state and just aren’t getting vaccinated for “political” reasons. Newsom will have trouble reaching that audience too.

      California is really two states. The coastal regions are the part you hear about. The inland portions more resemble Iowa or Wyoming in their peoples and priorities.

  4. Arizona Slim

    The elephant in the room that no one’s talking about? Side effects of these vaccines.

    I know two people in one family who were sickened and one of them darn near needed to be hospitalized. The other was sick for three weeks.

    1. tegnost

      I know one on prednisone that has stopped his symptoms…auto immune, could barely walk for a month after the pfizer, went to a doc who said it’s from the vax, thus steroids, but he can’t stop taking the steroid. This is a very healthy, or at least he had been, person…
      Also, Santa Clara county has a higher vax rate than one of the forgotten counties in cali? Color me shocked…this article seems to think it’s just the message, ignoring another one of the elephants in the room…
      ““What we’ve seen from the state, frankly, is a lack of investment and interest in public health,” he said. “I think it builds trust when you have the resources to call people back and tailor a message, but honestly we don’t really have that capacity.””

    2. Mike

      My in-law’s neighbor died from an AstraZeneca vaccine blood clot. The health authority confirmed it. The guy was in his forties and healthy.

      1. Carla

        There is evidence that the clots are forming when the needle administering the vaccine mistakenly hits a blood vessel instead of the muscle as it is supposed to. Dr. John Campbell has spoken on his youtube channel for some time about this; he was trained, and trained the nurses he taught, to “aspirate” before injecting a vaccine or other drug that is to be administered intramuscularly. If the needle has hit a blood vessel, the person giving the shot can then withdraw the needle and inject the drug elsewhere in the muscle. Apparently, nurses and medical technicians are no longer taught this technique.

        Here’s a video in which Dr. Campbell explains current research on what has actually caused the blood clots following vaccinations. It appears to be the vaccination technique, not the vaccine itself.


    3. lordkoos

      Here in eastern WA they literally can’t give the vaccine away. Our county has a 40% vaccination rate, mostly people over 60. Compare to King county (Seattle) where the rate is 70%.

    4. rowlf

      I’d warm up to being vaccinated if it came with lifetime healthcare to cover the risks. Otherwise I can’t believe the people who are pushing vaccination are being sincere about the benefits. If it is really that good to be vaccinated, stand behind it.

    5. kareninca

      Exactly. There is no mention in the article of the side effects that some people are actually having. No mention of VAERS. Just the insulting claim that some deplorables think they might become zombies if they are vaccinated, in order to try to make those who don’t want to be vaccinated look stupid. Over and over it is said that people have to be “met where they are” – without any acknowledgement that their concerns might be . . . rational.

      1. Pedro

        The side effects of the disease are far more dangerous… you simply aren’t being rational.
        Thankfully we have vaccines. I was very happy to get my two doses.

        1. kareninca

          You are claiming that without proof. We don’t know what the long term effects of the vaccine (or the illness) are. It isn’t enough to simply assert something that you want to be true, to make it true. You are just doing the same thing that the article did – asserting what you hope to be true without evidence.

          That doesn’t convince anyone who can think. And, making unsupported claims leads the reader to infer that one doesn’t have any support for one’s claims. Reading claims given without evidence makes me less likely to want to be vaccinated, rather than more.

  5. fumo

    Trust in institutions has been eroding for decades, and trust in for-profit medical institutions rightly has, even more so. Where I live, social distancing rules barely remain in place at all any longer. A local nurse friend who has been treating Covid patients is expecting a surge from the rural part of the county where vaccines are considered at best a libtard plot to some random conspiratorial end.

    I actually resignedly support the dropping of social distancing rules under this set of circumstances, if we wait until the vaccine hesitant are convinced to change their minds we’d still be in some form of lockdown five years from now. I think those who can be convinced pretty much already have and the remaining unvaccinated should be spared the endless nagging to be vaccinated and be left to their fates exactly as they prefer to be. I don’t expect much future progress in people being convinced to be vaccinated by argument alone.

    I personally would have liked to have seen more schools, employers, and businesses make being vaccinated a condition for in-person attendance first but that appears to be politically too difficult to do. Individual freedom has triumphed and we’ll just have to live, die, or long haul with the consequences all of us. I think those of us who are vaccinated and willing to take boosters as necessary will mostly be just fine, and those who aren’t have made a risk calculation that they will largely be content to live or die with.

    1. Whatdoiknow

      Trust is the key word and as you say it has been eroding for some time. Most people are rational and practical about life matters notwithstanding level of education.
      I am not vaccinated and don’t intend to.
      I am in my 40s consider myself healthy and dont see the point of getting the shot as a vaccinated person still can carry the virus and infect others, we don’t know for how long immunity will last and chances of dying from this virus are almost nil.
      I am sure a lot of people think along the same lines.p and it’s not an unreasonable position.
      Then the whole thing stinks of politics not science, starting with the mask mandate, first you don’t need them then you can’t go out without them to now with vaccinated people able to go out without masks. If a vaccinated person can carry and transmit the virus how one arrives at the conclusion that they don’t need to wear a mask.
      Then if you travel to Canada, you are mandated to quarantine for 3 days on a government designated hotel at your own expense. But if you pay upfront the cost of stay to government , you don’t need to quarantine in the stinky hotel but can do it at your home.
      With such inconsistencies everywhere no wonder people are skeptical, as Mary Higgins Clark would say , no one is to be trusted when a lot of money is involved and sure trillions have been flying around during this pandemic.

      1. juno mas

        Well, over 600,000 people have died from Covid-19. Some of them were strong and healthy before succumbing, despite the valiant efforts of doctors and nurses. I hear Long Covid is a real thing, too.

        There is no cash outlay for any of the vaccines in the US. Of the 100,000,000+ vaccines administered the number of serious complications attributed to the jab is miniscule. If someone has a rational medical reason for avoiding the jab then please, for everyone’s safety, wear an N95 when in close proximity to folks not in your household.

        1. Whatdoiknow

          600,000 people die from cancer each year in the US too, you need to keep a sense of proportion to keep things credible.

          1. The Rev Kev

            How many of those 600,00 people would be dying of cancer if the environment was not riddled full of carcinogenic chemicals which have gotten in the food chain?

          2. Basil Pesto

            Speaking of proportion, 600,000 is 0.18% of the US population. Assuming for the sake of argument that those 600,000 are representative of the general population, of whom 600,000 are cancer victims per annum, then of those 600,000 we can assume, with appropriate caveats, that approximately 1080 of those 600,000 (0.18%) would have died of cancer irregardless of their contracting Covid.

            That leaves 598,920 who have died of Covid in the last 15 months that wouldn’t have died of cancer.

            By way of giving you a sense of proportion, 598,920 people is one more person than 598,919 people.

            Accounting for other leading causes of death, we can generously round that down to 400,000, excusing the back-of-the-envelope nature of these calculations.

            Setting aside for a moment that juno mas repudiated your submission that the chances of dying from covid in the United States are “virtually nil” (they aren’t), just who is it that you think you’re fooling other than yourself with your sophomoric sophistry?

            1. Basil Pesto

              like, it bears repeating – a single novel pathogen causing 600,000 casualties in one year in one developed country in the modern era is astonishingly destructive

  6. Socal Rhino

    So the Get Vaccinated posters in the entryway to the French Laundry weren’t enough? Who’d have thought.

  7. kareninca

    “What actually works, Iton and other public health experts say, are well-funded, locally designed operations led by organizations that have built trust with residents and are capable of going door to door to dispel vaccine mythology, such as local nonprofits, county health departments and community clinics.”

    That is so patronizing. I would not trust those sources of information at this point, and so I think it is insulting to expect someone else to, even/especially if they are poor. The fact that this article refers to “vaccine mythology” seals it. It is no myth that there are no long term vaccine safety data.

    And we’re supposed to listen to “community leaders?” Every “community leader” I’ve known has been a narcissistic cretin.

  8. Sara K.

    This article is relevant: https://missionlocal.org/2021/06/when-it-comes-to-vaccine-equity-san-francisco-is-an-exception-not-the-rule/

    It has much worth quoting, but I’ll just pull out the part about ‘vaccine deserts’:

    “A Vaccine Equity Planner launched June 9 by Ariadne Labs and Boston Children’s Hospital shows “vaccine deserts” across California, where access to a shot takes more than 30 minutes by public transit or more than 15 minutes by car.

    “These areas span most of the state outside of larger cities: the Central Valley and rural northern and southern California, including Imperial County, the hardest hit in the state… When vaccines first became available, researchers like Bibbins-Domingo and Dr. Diane Havlir, the leader of the Unidos en Salud campaigns in the Mission District, recommended vaccine distribution prioritize the most impacted zip codes to ensure equity. Instead, the state decided to focus vaccination efforts on getting vaccines into arms of the most vulnerable by age, regardless of socioeconomic status or exposure risk.

    “But getting to mass vaccination sites at expo centers or sports arenas often required having a vehicle and time off work to wait in long lines.”

  9. Skip Intro

    Although they did mention vans going around giving vaccines or McD’s (where poors are forced to eat), the prefatory warning about the erasure of the workplace might also be accompanied by a warning about the focus on messaging as preferred PMC solution to all problems.

  10. Jeremy Grimm

    This post mentions “trust” and “misinformation” repeatedly. There are problems of “trust” and “misinformation”. They might be covered over with better Government messaging. The post suggests a need for door-to-door contacts by “organizations that have built trust with residents” or “trusted members of the community who acknowledge their fears and mistrust of the medical system”. If there are such trusted organizations and community members, I wonder how many of them trust the message the Government is pushing and would be willing to risk losing the trust they currently enjoy. The post also ignores the possibility that there really are problems with the vaccines, with the ways they are being monitored, problems with the way they were approved by the FDA, and problems with the way vaccines have become a panacea supposedly dispensing with the need to follow basic public health measures like masking, or testing.

    To build some trust, Government might consider collecting and analyzing data from the phase III trial they initiated. They might consider halting the multi-front campaigns to silence any and all negative reports about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, and the efforts to quash studies of other means for treating and preventing Corona infection.

  11. Deb Pasoto

    That is so disturbing. I don’t want solicitors at my door, whether they are selling Jesus or peddling more personal fraud and invasion. I might want to ask such “trusted messengers” their names and home addresses so that I can return the favor and violate their privacy and inflict my views and demands upon them.

    1. Arizona Slim

      If I am not expecting you at my place, I am not opening the door. I’m sure that I am not the only one with this policy.

      1. Deb Pasoto

        Yes, that is the best policy to have. I’ve already been a target of a telephone campaign, and would not have known it had they not left a message. I don’t answer if I don’t know who is calling. That they have called more than once is less of a disturbance than it would be if they were at my door.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I am with you on that one. If I don’t recognize the number, I am not answering the phone.

      1. synoia

        Only if you eschew Church, and follow Christ’s dictum on how to pray. (In private).

        1. kareninca

          You’re taking the bible literally. You’re entitled to, of course, but not every Christian thinks that is the thing to do. Some feel that large parts are to be taken allegorically, or spiritually, including that passage. Some denominations hold that just as the bible was written by people inspired by the Holy Spirit, it is only possible to understand it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit – and such understandings are often going to be different from literal readings. One of the benefits of this is that it gets past problems of translation, which are a big issue if you feel you are reading literally.

          Also, even if you pray in public, I don’t see how Jesus is going to give you a blood clot.

          But of course you are right that certain sorts of worship could give one a metaphorical blood clot. Alas.

  12. Boo

    It’s kind of insulting, and gives us a good idea what some officials think of the citizens when they dangle lottery tickets and say if you take the vaccine this ticket is all yours.

  13. Gail

    The narrative is disintegrating. A public school teacher writes the following:

    “Our current state of scientific inversion has sown intense division in the U.S. and threatens to rip apart the social fabric. For the past 16 months, the public has been told that it is our duty to serve the needs of medical institutions and personnel, not the other way around. Effective low-cost therapeutics like ivermectin were dismissed in favor of a vaccine program that transferred billions of dollars from taxpayers to pharmaceutical executives and shareholders. Critics of measures like school closures were accused of far-right white supremacy, even though these measures were most damaging to working-class people and minorities. Deadly policies were portrayed as lifesaving, and public health protocols caused immense clinical damage.”

    “A few people have benefited from this war on reality while many have paid a heavy price. In 2020, workers lost $3.7 trillion, while billionaires gained $3.9 trillion and 493 new individuals became billionaires. During this same period, decades of progress against diseases like malaria and tuberculosis were reversed. Disruptions to health and nutrition services killed 228,000 children in South Asia. Globally, the impact of lockdowns on health programs, food production, and supply chains plunged millions of people into severe hunger and malnutrition.”


    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I think you might want to look further for your source of Corona information:
      “Despite consistent evidence that schools were not sites of high transmission for COVID-19, many teachers failed to put aside baseless fears about classroom superspreading and rampant infection.”
      I did not notice any such consistent evidence.

      “The emails reveal early assertions that asymptomatic transmission is rare, that post-infection immunity is highly likely, and that masks are “not really effective.” However, you wouldn’t know that from the public messaging since the start of the pandemic, in which bureaucrats and journalists upheld lasting misconceptions that asymptomatic cases are dangerous, natural immunity is not a factor in protecting the population, and individuals are responsible for viral spread.”
      That is as far as I will read this link.

      1. Yves Smith

        See this article:


        Shorter: The absence of evidence (which was never collected) is not evidence of absence.

        And the the UK, regular large scale surveys (blood tests of 100,000 people) found that elementary school children were 2x as likely to bring Covid into a household as adults, and older school-aged kids, 7x as likely. Gee, so where did those kids get Covid? Aside from their families, kids mainly hang with other kids.

        Why do you think the officials are so eager to vaccinate kids? They know they get asymptomatic cases, and know they can transmit when in that condition.

    2. Basil Pesto

      “the war on reality” alas, who will wage the war on sententiousness?

      That such a non-entity feels the responsibility, nay, burden to crusade on behalf of reality perhaps shows how epistemologically bereft we all are.

  14. Marva

    In December 2020, Fauci declared that he was changing his estimate for vaccination rates needed to achieve herd immunity from 60% to 90%.
    When asked for a scientific rationale, Fauci said he changed the percentage based purely on polling that indicated more Americans were willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/health/herd-immunity-covid-coronavirus.html

    That’s not science, that’s bullshit for pharma profits.

    Getting sick of this whole catastrophic dance, it’s just like the
    “Now they have evidence against Trump!!” Empty rhetoric with nothing changing.

    Time to stock up on food for the winter. Considering buying a gun and some ammunition before the Biden-Harris Depression hits.

  15. David in Santa Cruz

    Ferkryssakes, how much of this “hesitancy” is coming from lower-income people who don’t qualify for Medicaid and who can’t risk having to access their high-deductible high-copay ACA plans if they have side-effects?

    It’s like liberal Democrats wear special glasses that render the workplace invisible.” Because deplorables.

    The disdain shown by our elites toward who soil their hands with toil is palpable.

  16. sd

    I think the timing on pulling the J&J vaccine hampered efforts in California and put a dent in the momentum. It was part of the big opening to non essential workers in the under 60s and it was almost immediately squashed. By the time it was available again, the damage was done.

    People aren’t stupid contrary to what the folks in Sacramento think.

    1. juno mas

      I understand hesitation in taking a vaccine that doesn’t have a long history, but the blood clot issue was a very rare occurrence. Initially it was 7 cases in 7 million administered jabs. Blood clots occur for several reasons in patients , essentially more often than one in a million. The temporary J&J pause was deemed necessary to gather more data, and an abundance of caution (by the medical community).

      The vaccine has been taken by millions of Black and Latinx across the US with great success (no negative consequence).. Yet many continue to be reticent in taking the jab. If the Delta strain takes off in this cohort the pandemic will continue in sections of the US.

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