If I were an anti-vaxxer and public figure and looking for a way to subtly discourage as many Americans as possible from getting a COVID vaccine without having to admit publicly that I am opposed to vaccines, there are a few strategies I’d use.
I would go on every cable news station that would have me and explain to the hosts that getting a COVID vaccine doesn’t mean you can stop wearing masks. I would explain that science says masks help prevent the spread of COVID and then I would explain that masks are scientific and that science supports masks and science is the most scientific thing you can talk about when it comes to science. If a host or, let’s say, a sitting senator were to challenge me on the usefulness of masks after full vaccination and challenge me with data suggesting post-vax masks are just theater, I would remind that senator of this little thing called science. Then I’d say the word science a few more times, just to make the point. What I wouldn’t do is entertain a reasonable conversation about the logic of masks. I wouldn’t want to distract frightened Americans with reason.
I wouldn’t talk at all about the absurdity of imagining one could spread and breathe out a disease to which they have immunity. Asymptomatic transmission is a glorified urban legend but as long as CNN says differently, there’s no reason to disabuse anyone of the notion.
I’d tell everyone that vaccines don’t mean you can leave your house, or go eat at a restaurant. In fact, they mean the opposite. Once you get a vaccine you must double down on vigilance. The only way to be 100% sure that you never get a virus or give a virus is to make sure you don’t go anywhere, ever. Get vaccinated…but stay inside.
Next, I’d make sure to tell everyone that after a vaccination they should not expect to be able to hug their elderly relatives or see their relatives or begin attending family events again. I would make sure everyone still had as much fear as possible about seeing their loved ones and celebrating life events. I would give everyone mixed messages about their vulnerability and the necessity of getting a vaccine. I would tell people that if they leave their homes they put themselves at risk to give/get COVID, but if they don’t leave their homes to get a vaccination they put themselves at risk to give/get COVID. I’d create as much confusion as possible for as many people as possible. To bring the message home, I would continue to travel for work, throw out first pitches at baseball games and hop studio-to-studio to give important interviews about my conflicting message. I’d make sure to come off as hypocritical as possible.
Finally, I’d make sure to repeat the phrase “new normal” as much as possible. I would explain to everyone that even though America has pulled off one of the greatest medical feats in history in a year’s time, that doesn’t mean America can ever be normal again. Kids shouldn’t go to school, you may never be able to go see a movie at the theater again, no more public concerts or parades, and dining out will be a thing of the past. I would explain and keep explaining that the new normal means the unwashed masses staying home, staying masked, and never working again.
After all this, I would repeatedly shame any person who questions the effectiveness or safety of a COVID vaccine as a thoughtless moron.
And that is how if I were an undercover, secret anti-vaxxer, I would use my public influence to destroy confidence in a vaccine and keep people at home and unvaccinated. It’s so clever it’s almost too clever.
But I’m not an anti-vaxxer and I’m not a public representative. I’m just a lowly op-ed writer. I guess I’ll just have to leave the winning messages on vaccines to the Expert Scientists™ like Dr. Fauci.
.@RandPaul evicerates Dr. Fauci over the “theater” of requiring Americans already immune from Covid to continue wearing masks.
Fauci’s ultimate rebuttal: “I totally disagree with you” pic.twitter.com/Ea0utSRUAb
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 18, 2021