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Matt Gaetz Joins Antivaxxers In Exploiting Colin Powell’s Death

Matt Gaetz Joins Antivaxxers In Exploiting Colin Powell’s Death

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s death was announced Monday morning, and across the nation, across party lines, there was mourning and remembrance. Politicians from both major parties spoke with respect for Powel, expressing condolences to his family and honoring his life.

Then there’s Matt Gaetz.

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

In a tweet demonstrating an inability to read the room, Gaetz boosted an anti-vax post from a Fox News anchor, throwing in his own commentary to further suggest that being vaccinated against COVID-19 is actually dangerous.

The original post, from Fox host John Roberts, simply co-opted the death of Powell, due to complications from COVID-19, to suggest that the vaccination’s effectiveness is more short-lived than could be hoped for. Gaetz’s editorializing compares the number of deaths from breakthrough infections to the number of deaths from the WMDs that the Bush Administration cited as the reason for invasion.

Since Roberts has since deleted his tweet, see the screenshot below for full context.

[Screenshot via Matt Gaetz/Twitter]

While the comparison is a complete non-sequitur, Gaetz’s focus on deaths from breakthrough infections is misleading and promotes anti-vax propaganda.

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No one is denying that breakthrough infections occur or that they can be deadly — the American Medical Association discussed these in an explainer published in August, noting that at that time, there had been over 5,000 deaths from breakthrough infections — out of over 161 million people who were fully vaccinated.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that getting vaccinated is effective in preventing people from getting severely ill or dying from the disease. Even as new COVID-19 variants appear, vaccines continue to hold their ground. But since no vaccine is perfect, it is expected that we will see some COVID-19 breakthrough infections.

However, the rate of death from breakthrough infections, and the rate of contracting COVID-19 at all, are both drastically lowered by the vaccine.

Gaetz has recognized the vaccine as a “smart decision,” but only “for some people,” like his parents, who according to Newsweek, he said were correct to be vaccinated, due to age and medical conditions. He is among the right-wing politicians who refuse to say whether they’ve gotten the vaccine themselves.

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