Jerry Moran, Roger Marshall, Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner and Tracey Mann: Speak loudly to encourage vaccinations
Kansas can do better in the battle against COVID-19. What’s more, if we truly want a post-pandemic world, we have to do better.
These are the facts: According to Bloomberg, only 43.2% of our population is fully vaccinated. While this percentage includes children younger than 12, who can’t yet be inoculated, it’s still woefully low.
Kansans appears to trail 34 other states.
Partial vaccination doesn’t cut it anymore. The delta variant, which has become the main strain of the virus circulating, can more easily infect those who have only had one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Two doses, thankfully, remain robustly effective at preventing infection, transmission and severe outcomes.
We can see what’s happening in front of our eyes. On June 23, the seven-day average of new COVID cases in Kansas was 96. On July 21, less than a month later, it was 494.
Who is falling ill? Who is being diagnosed? In almost all cases — in Kansas and across the country — the answer is simple: unvaccinated people. Health officials are calling delta’s fiery spread across the country a pandemic of the unvaccinated. In other words, if you don’t get your shot, you’re in no better spot now than you were a year ago or six months ago.
The time has come for leadership. The Republican Party has been disgracefully disjointed in its messaging on the vaccines, in some cases giving former President Trump credit for the swift deployment, in others toying with disgraceful and refuted conspiracy theories.
The time has come for every member of the party — and for outlets like Fox News — to speak with a single voice. This will make a difference in a state like Kansas.
But we can do more. Our GOP congressional delegation — Sens. Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall, and Reps. Ron Estes, Jake LaTurner and Tracey Mann — should schedule a joint news conference as soon as possible. They should urge every Kansan who qualifies for a vaccine to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Here’s the rub: If you claim to hate masks and restrictions on movement, and if you care about keeping schools open and the economy vibrant, you have precisely one option to achieve your goals. Society wide vaccination.
Congressmen, help Kansans save themselves.