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May 25, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — After an initial rush, more than half of the U.S. population seems in little hurry to get their own COVID-19 vaccinations, yet vaccine activists remain committed to increasing complaints with sticks rather than carrots.

As of May 23, more than 130 million Americans have fully taken one of the three abortion-tainted COVID-19 vaccines with emergency-use authorization in the United States, or 39.2% of the population. Among the states, the highest vaccination percentage in the country is Maine at 51.9%.

For weeks, numerous observers have bemoaned the fact that the vaccination rate “has stalled” after “months of growth,” as an April New York Magazine piece put it.

“The main reason those who plan not to be vaccinated give for their reluctance is a preference to wait and confirm it is safe (24%) or doubting that the health effects from the disease would be serious if they contracted it (21%),” Gallup reports. “Another 17% are concerned about the speed with which the vaccine was developed, and 16% do not trust vaccines in general. Fewer attributed their unwillingness to other causes.”

This hesitancy has elicited intense hostility from many public personalities. USA Today columnist Michael Stern calls for “shunning” vaccine-hesitant Americans.

“Restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, barbers, airlines and Ubers should require proof of vaccination before providing their services,” he writes. “And it shouldn’t stop there. Businesses should make vaccination a requirement for employment. A COVID-19 outbreak can shut down a business and be financially devastating. And failure to enforce basic health and safety measures is not fair to employees who have to work in offices, factories and stores where close contact is required. Things should get personal, too: People should require friends to be vaccinated to attend the barbecues and birthday parties they host. Friends don’t let friends spread the coronavirus.”

In another example, left-wing talk show host Jimmy Kimmel released a public service announcement in which several unidentified doctors and nurses encourage audiences to get vaccinated, albeit mostly by asserting their perceived moral and intellectual superiority, mocking and condescending to Americans with concerns, and even cursing and flashing their middle fingers at the audience.

The most recent target of this ire is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an ophthalmologist who, despite being supportive of the COVID-19 vaccines, says he will not take one himself because he has already had, and recovered from, the virus, and therefore believes the antibodies render him naturally immune from reinfection.

“Until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers, or being hospitalized or getting very sick, I just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul said over the weekend. “In a free country you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision, that it wouldn’t be a big brother coming to tell me what I have to do.”

“Dr. Paul is following the science on the vaccines and masks for those who have developed immunity,” Paul spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper added. “Like tens of millions of other Americans who have recovered from Covid-19, Dr. Paul has developed an immune defense to the virus, which is the same goal and result of the vaccines. As such, Dr. Paul believes there are many millions of other Americans who should receive the vaccine ahead of him. That is especially true as clinical trials have shown the vaccines provide no appreciable additional immunity for those who have already recovered from the disease.”

While many officeholders and media figures blame online “misinformation” for lingering vaccine hesitancy, considerably less contemplation has been spent on how the government’s own actions contribute to mistrust, from public health officials’ contradictory guidances on every aspect of the pandemic (including masks, lockdowns, and social distancing) to mixed messaging about vaccinated people still potentially transmitting the virus to others.

In addition, doctors, medical professionals, and other observers point to the fact that clinical trials for the currently-authorized COVID-19 vaccines were performed in less than a year, when such trials traditionally take a minimum of two to four years. One of the innovations of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, but that does not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on its own — to just three months apiece.

Vaccine defenders note that the number of deaths and serious side effects reported to have followed COVID vaccination is an extremely small percentage of the overall vaccine recipients, and that being listed in the VAERS reporting system does not necessarily establish a causal link to the vaccine. On the other side of the issue, experts argue that leaders’ widespread preference for pressuring Americans into compliance and shutting down debate on the subject, as exemplified by the Tong letter, evidences a lack of interest in getting to the bottom of those deaths. 

In a rare exception from the mainstream media’s push for vaccination without asking serious questions, Bloomberg published an op-ed on May 19 by Faye Flam, who noted that the “original clinical trials [for the COVID vaccines] were set up to get the minimum information needed to win emergency use approval, and follow-up study has been less than systematic.” Flam calls for more rigorous tracking of side effects, especially for “women experiencing disturbing changes in their menstrual cycles.”