Last week there was great and long-awaited news: The FDA granted emergency authorization for children ages 5 to 11 to finally get the Pfizer vaccine. There was much rejoicing amongst parents, who’ve long had to sweat over their kids’ possible exposure to a highly transmissible disease, and much naysaying amongst Republicans, who have taken out their frustrations on Big Bird and the Muppets. But of course, not everyone is on board. And, alas, one of them might be running for governor of Texas.
As per The Hill, Oscar-winning actor and possible gubernatorial candidate Matthew McConaughey has come out against establishing a mandate for vaccines in schools for young children, at least for now. He dropped the news at the New York Times‘s DealBook summit, where he tried to draw a line between preaching for the efficacy of vaccinations while claiming they shouldn’t be required.
“I’m vaccinated. My wife’s vaccinated. I didn’t do it because someone told me I had to — [I] chose to do it,” McConaughey said. “Do I think that there’s any kind of scam or conspiracy theory?” he asked himself. His reply: “Hell no.”
But. “Right now I’m not vaccinating mine, I’ll tell you that,” he added.
McConaughey claimed that he’s “quarantined harder” than his friends since the pandemic began in earnest about two years ago. Part of that has been using a “heavy amount” of COVID-19 testing. “I’m in a position though where I can do that, and I understand that not everyone can do that,” he admitted.
That, of course, is still a marginally better position than that taken by current Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has, like many Republican governors with high cases of COVID cases and deaths, downplayed the pandemic and come out against vaccine mandates. But it’s still a very low bar. And it didn’t impress one person: US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
“Many kids have died. Sadly, hundreds of children — thousands — have been hospitalized, and as a dad of a child who has been hospitalized several years ago for another illness, I would never wish upon any parent they have a child that ends up in the hospital,” Murthy told CNN mere hours after McConaughey’s statements went public. “And the vaccines have shown in these trials for children 5 through 11 they are more at 90% effective in protecting our kids from symptomatic infection, and they are remarkably safe as well.”
McConaughey was also asked about another problem plaguing his native state: the draconian abortion law that went into effect Sunday, prompting panic as well as satirical and amusingly saboteurial attempts to discredit it. The actor called it “overly aggressive,” but added, semi-cryptically, “It doesn’t doesn’t seem to open up the room for a sensible choice to be made at the right time.”
His more elaborate response may not exactly ease the nerves of advocates for safe and legal abortions in Texas. “I believe in this: more responsibility, more personal responsibility to make the right choices,” he said. “And we got to pick context with each situation, and each person’s situation, each woman’s situation.”
(Via The Hill)