Give Mike Pence credit for one thing

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, along with Surgeon General Jerome Adams, received the coronavirus vaccine publicly to encourage public confidence in the vaccine. Pence said that he was proud to take this safe and effective vaccine and that he "didn't feel a thing."

Posted: Dec 18, 2020 9:20 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2020 2:30 PM


It is possible to believe two different things about Vice President Mike Pence at the same time.

That he and the Trump administration failed the country in their response to the coronavirus, but that his public vaccination on Friday was a good thing for all of us.

Liberals, stay with me on this.

Recognizing the value in Pence's public vaccination does not take away from his egregious mismanagement of a historic public health crisis. For the greater part of a year, Pence helped lead an administration that has made the pandemic worse by hosting super-spreader events; politicizing mask-wearing; misleading the public about the dangers of the virus; and muzzling, contradicting and insulting its own scientists. He even mused about injecting cleaning supplies as a possible cure for Covid. Trump claims he was joking about the cleaning supplies, but it turns out that many in the nation ended up laughing at him, not with him.

These were, without a doubt, political, policy and moral failures. However, it is critical now to inoculate as many people as quickly as possible. This will be a massive undertaking that must begin with convincing the American public that the vaccine is safe. In spite of his flaws, Pence is in a unique position to do so.

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 42% of Republicans said they would 'probably or definitely not get a Covid-19 vaccine even if it was determined to be safe by scientists and available for free.' This is a profound problem. Pence maintains an 85% approval rating among Republicans, and the image of him being vaccinated might provide some reassurance to his supporters.

While some may be tempted to point to Pence's failures as evidence he doesn't deserve to get the vaccine, it's a win for all of us if the public display of his vaccination means more people will get vaccinated, whoever they are.

Every skeptical community has a Mike Pence -- a figure who might be horribly unpopular to outsiders but has credibility among supporters. We must identify those people, vaccinate them and scream about it from the mountaintops. This is critical now in the Black community as well, where, following a history of racism in medical research and health care, many feel justifiably suspicious of vaccines.

(Hey, after finishing the season finale of 'The Mandalorian' this week, I would gladly fill that empty 45 minutes a week by watching videos of famous people getting vaccinated.)

The cliché, Hallmark-card version of this pandemic can be summed up with the phrase: 'We're all in this together.' But the cold hard truth is that even people we don't personally care for can get the rest of us sick. We all have a self-interest in ensuring that others are vaccinated.

There are plenty of critics who will find fault with Pence's public display. He is not a frontline health care worker, and the image of a senior government official getting the shot before others can appear opportunistic. He is, however, still the Vice President of the United States and is, like the President and Speaker of the House and other senior officials entitled under 'continuity of government' laws to some safety measures the rest of us are not. (Nancy Pelosi has already gotten the first dose of the vaccine, and Joe and Jill Biden are scheduled to receive it on Monday.)

Pence should be held accountable for his failures. I, like many Americans, believe it is a good thing for America that he will be a private citizen in a matter of days. Fortunately, as he is on the way out the door, one of his last public acts in office will help clean up the mess he was partly responsible for.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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