On Cause of COVID Waves, Harris Distances Herself from Biden

While the president places the blame squarely on the shoulders of the unvaccinated, the vice president takes a different stance.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Over the weekend, the Biden administration pushed an Omicron “doomsday” message. The President said “[w]e are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated—for themselves, their families, and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm. But there’s good news. If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death.”
  • The next day, White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients echoed the president “[w]e are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this. For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”
  • Yet when CBS pressed Vice President Harris about who was to blame for the ongoing pandemic, she employed noticeably different rhetoric. “I don’t think this is a moment to talk about fault,” she said. “It is no one’s fault that this virus hit our shores or hit the world . . . [i]t is more about individual power and responsibility and the decisions that everyone has the choice to make.”
  • Observers immediately took issue with President Biden’s approach.

OMICRON, VACCINES, AND BOOSTER SHOTS:

  • Nonetheless, Harris insisted that booster shots and vaccines were still the best way forward. “We have the power today to go out and if you’ve not been boosted, go get boosted. The power today to go and get vaccinated. And that will have an impact on where we end up tomorrow.”
  • The administration’s position on Omicron, vaccines, and boosters stands in stark contrast to that of other experts and governments from around the world, which call the new variant “extremely mild.”
  • American data suggest that vaccines offer no protection against Omicron.
  • Critics contend that western officials politicize the new variant in order to manufacture support for vaccine mandates and new lockdowns.
  • Finally, vaccine safety remains an open question, as American experts and foreign governments sound the alarm about potential side effects.