Next up: Convince the vaccine skeptics

The Trump circus is finally starting to strike its tattered tent, but just how many dung piles and muddy craters will these deranged elephants leave on their way out as the big top collapses? “Too many” is the correct answer.

Trumpist dead-enders have spent the past fortnight jammed in the contortionist clown car, squeezing out occasionally to juggle the canard of a supposedly “stolen” election with the relentless stream of laugh-‘em-out-the-door court rulings and election certifications. By Tuesday, even Trump’s sad sack flunky— Attorney General Bill Barr— had to concede: There’s no evidence to suggest any tampering or malfeasance. The only real fraud in this presidentially besmirched republic is the one being advanced by his poached-faced boss and his Bozo understudy, Rudy Giuliani.

The triumphant Team Biden might be permitted a guffaw or two as they take in the spectacle of their vanquished foes humiliating themselves slapstick-style on the world stage. But what glee can one take when confronted by the terrors of a deadly, rampaging virus and its calamitous cousin, economic despair. As Trump and his Capitol Hill enablers dither and dodge, no relief in the form of a stimulus package that might aid stricken industries teetering on the brink of bankruptcy— or offer to a tenant or a landlord of a light and a rope ladder from their deepening hole of indebtedness— has yet been advanced.

The promise of imminent vaccines— reputable and effective— should help puncture the national malaise. On Tuesday, Gov. Baker told us that doses for frontline health care workers, adults over 65 with underlying health conditions, and other essential workers could begin as soon as this month. Most citizens, he said, won’t be able to get vaccinated until the spring.

"It would probably be Q2 before just Joe Q or Jane Q Citizen would have access to a vaccine," Baker told reporters.

And yet, too many of us— including one-third of people here in our own enlightened Commonwealth— have indicated an early reluctance to take the requisite shots when they do come on line.

A report released this week from the Western New England University Polling Institute found that 29 percent of Massachusetts people know at least one of the more than 10,000 people who have died from the virus in our state so far. Ninety percent are on board with a mask mandate. But about one-third told pollsters that they are “not convinced about the value of getting a vaccine,” institute director Tim Vercellotti told State House News Service.

The most recent national polling is even more troubling. A Gallup poll conducted last month found that only 58 percent of Americans are likely to take the vaccine. As Vercellotti told the News Service, “these numbers may fluctuate as the public receives more information and as distribution of vaccines gets under way."

It will surely help some that we will soon have a commander-in-chief who won’t maliciously undermine the message of the scientists and doctors. And yet, whether he barks it out from behind a toddler desk on Pennsylvania Avenue or taps it into his phone from a perch at Mar-a-Lago, there’s little doubt that Donald Trump will persist in his penchant for passing along misinformation.

We can do our part by challenging those who, for whatever reason, refuse to consider the adults-only vaccine as the only viable path forward.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci counseled on Monday: "So, if you want to be part of the solution, get vaccinated and say, 'I'm not going to be one of the people that is going to be a stepping stone for the virus to go to somebody else; I'm going to be a dead end to the virus.’”

Amen to that.