In recent weeks, liberal networks have offered guests and analysts platforms to demand mandatory vaccines.
“It is time to impose vaccine mandates and passports,” CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer said last month. His comments were followed by CNN medical contributor Dr. Leana Wen, who suggested life “needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated.”
Conservative commentator Drew Holden provided a thread of Democrats and media members last year who he felt undermined vaccine confidence while President Donald Trump was still in the White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris was perhaps the most notable person to cast doubt on the COVID-19 vaccines developed under Operation Warp Speed, saying last year she didn’t “trust” the president during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.
“I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump … I will not take his word for it,” Harris told Bash last year when asked if she would get the shot.
Her comments were shared and even applauded by left-leaning outlets like Daily Kos.
Harris would later take that message to the 2020 vice presidential debate, noting she wouldn’t take the vaccine if it was recommended by Trump. Then-Vice President Mike Pence charged her with trying to “undermine public confidence” in the vaccine. Her remarks would resurface after Harris publicly took the vaccine in December.
Biden himself was publicly skeptical of the vaccine last year. As the New York Times wrote in a telling headline, “Biden, Seizing on Worries of a Rushed Vaccine, Warns Trump Can’t Be Trusted.”
That title had some company. “Trump’s Vaccines Can’t Be Trusted,” a Foreign Policy column matter-of-factly stated. “Will Anyone Trust Serial Liar Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Vaccine?” a similar Vanity Fair title blared.
Media pundits joined in questioning the vaccines produced under Trump’s watch.
“Frankly, the fact that Pfizer was not part of ‘Operation Warp Speed’ and took no Trump government funding makes me feel better about their vaccine,” MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted last November. “Just speaking for myself, I wouldn’t go near anything that Trump or his politicized FDA had anything to do with.”
But this weekend, while admitting she first had some hesitancy about the vaccine because of Trump, Reid now told her followers to “Get vaxxed and survive this freaking thing.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald was among the analysts who shared Holden’s thread, accusing Democrats of casting doubt on the vaccine as a means to hurt Trump’s reelection chances.
Despite the initial skepticism from lawmakers and pundits alike, Operation Warp Speed has been heralded as a bipartisan “miracle” for helping producing vaccines in record time during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins called it a “breathtaking success,” while White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said it would go down historically as “highly successful.” CNN’s Jake Tapper called the initiative a “remarkable accomplishment,” while questioning people aren’t getting vaccinated.