Wednesday, April 08, 2020


Among right-wingers, Rush Limbaugh isn't as trusted a source of "wisdom" on viruses and pandemics as the president of the United States, but he probably ranks second. So it's fascinating to look at this transcript from today's radio show and realize that Limbaugh didn't realize that the flu vaccine exists.
We don’t have a vaccine for HIV yet. That goes back to the eighties. Do you know that? We get treatments for it. We don’t have a vaccine....

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m just gonna tell you: It’s a virus. The odds that there’s going to be a vaccine... Well, it’s not automatic that there’s going to ever be a vaccine for this.

We don’t have a vaccine for the flu. Do you realize that? We have shots, but even people who get flu shots get the flu. There isn’t something you can take out there that’s gonna stop you from getting the flu, at least not... Am I wrong about this? Is... (interruption) Is there a flu vaccine, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) Ah, ah. Some strains. What is the flu vaccine, a flu shot? (interruption)

Okay. And are there people who get flu shots who then get the flu? (interruption) Well, then there’s no vaccine. We have a vaccine against polio. You take it; you won’t get it. We have a vaccine again smallpox. You take it; you won’t get it. We don’t have a vaccine for the flu. We don’t have a vaccine for HIV. We don’t... (interruption) Okay. We got Tamiflu. It’s a prescribed medicine.

I’ve taken it. It supposedly.... It reduces the length of time you’re on the flu, but it doesn’t get rid of it. We don’t have... The idea that there’s automatically gonna be a vaccine anytime, 18 months, 12-months? It’s a virus. Most vi — how long did it take to get a polio vaccine? How long did it take to get a smallpox vaccine? And now you realize because of illegal immigration, open borders, there are people coming into the country reintroducing smallpox into the Southern California community?
(That last claim -- that undocumented immigrants are bringing smallpox into California -- was debunked last fall. A viral photo purportedly showing an immigrant with smallpox on his torso was actually a 2014 photo of a man with either scabies or chickenpox.)

So Rush Limbaugh -- who calls himself, among other things, "America's anchorman" -- knew that the flu shot exists, but didn't believe it constituted a flu vaccine. Limbaugh never seems stupid exactly, but this is Trump-level stupid.

Yes, it's a vaccine, as Limbaugh later (reluctantly) acknowledged:
By the way, the CDC calls their flu shots vaccines. Well, look. If it’s a vaccine, then you’re not gonna get it. And 60,000 people still — people who take the flu shots, they get it sometimes. Maybe they don’t die from it. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the stats on that.
It's not a 100% effective vaccine. But it's a vaccine.

These people are going to get us all killed.

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