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Urging Vaccinations, McConnell Brings Up Polio

Senator survived that disease as a boy, before a vaccine was developed
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2021 7:10 PM CDT
Urging Vaccinations, McConnell Brings Up Polio
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters Tuesday at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Sen. Mitch McConnell, who would have benefited from a vaccine for another disease decades ago, is urging his constituents to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The Senate minority leader has recorded a 60-second radio commercial that began airing Thursday on 100 stations in Kentucky, CNN reports. When he was a boy, McConnell says in the spots, he "faced a different disease. I contracted polio," adding that "back then, it took decades for us to develop a vaccine." That's not the case this time, he says, pointing out that three effective vaccines were produced in less than a year. "Every American should take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated. It's the only way we're going to defeat COVID." McConnell is paying for the ads with unspent campaign money, per the Courier-Journal.

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On Wednesday, McConnell said on Fox Business Network that "clearly, we have got a job to do." The senator said he didn't realize there would be such resistance to the shots, per the Hill. "Honestly, it never occurred to me we would have difficulty getting people to take the vaccine," McConnell told host Larry Kudlow. In Kentucky, 45% of the population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19; the national rate is 50%. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie said they will not be vaccinated, claiming to have immunity after contracting COVID-19 last year. That conflicts with CDC guidance, which says the delta variant makes a second infection more likely that it was with the original strain. People in that situation should still be vaccinated, the agency says. (Read more Mitch McConnell stories.)

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