Are Covid jabs ‘Trump vaccines’? No, but I’ll call them that if it means people will take them | Arwa Mahdawi

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Forget Pfizer or AstraZeneca, the hottest shot this summer is the Trump vaccine. Hang on, you might cry: there is no such thing. Well, Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders – a woman who has always had an unusual relationship with facts – begs to differ. Sanders is running for governor of Arkansas, a state with one of the lowest Covid vaccination rates in the US. She seems to want to change that: on Sunday, she published a column explaining her reasons for getting “the Trump vaccine” and arguing that Covid vaccines are safe and effective.

Are you wondering whether Sanders, a Trump sycophant, has turned over a new leaf? Is it possible she suddenly cares more about the public good than political gain? I’m afraid not. Sanders, you see, wasn’t content with using her platform simply to encourage her fellow Arkansans to get vaccinated; she also took numerous jabs at Democrats. The reason some people are scared that vaccines are not safe, according to Sanders, is Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s fault. If “the left truly care about increasing the vaccination rate … they should admit they were wrong to cast doubt on Operation Warp Speed and give President Trump and his team the credit they are due,” Sanders wrote.

Ah yes, of course. Vaccine hesitancy is entirely the fault of Democrats and the left! Fox News stars such as Tucker Carlson, who has spent months challenging the safety of the vaccines, have absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s incredible how some conservatives, who love preaching personal responsibility, are so quick to jump at the chance to blame others.

That said, it’s important to concede that Sanders isn’t entirely wrong. We can’t blame conservatives alone for politicising the vaccines. A lot of Democrats – along with liberal media outlets such as the New York Times – curried doubt about a vaccine connected to Trump. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, said last September that New York would review Covid vaccines approved by the federal government because Trump’s “election day miracle drug” was not trustworthy. Biden and Harris said they wouldn’t take Trump’s word on the vaccine. This is something liberals need to reckon with.

In the meantime, if Sanders calling the various vaccines “the Trump vaccine” results in more people getting it, I’m all for it. Heck, maybe we should introduce that strategy to different areas. The Trump Green New Deal, anyone?

Arwa Mahdawi is a Guardian columnist

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