Scalise warns shaming won't help boost vaccinations

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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise on Sunday urged encouragement — not shame — in urging people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“What we need to be doing is encouraging people to get vaccinated, not trying to shame people who are unvaccinated or people that got vaccinated,” the Louisiana Republican said on CBS’ “Face the Nation. “I had antibodies, so I ultimately made the decision once I saw the Delta variant picking up, I thought it was important to get vaccinated.”

Scalise received his vaccination much later than his coworkers in Congress, opting to delay his inoculation until July.

Meanwhile, Louisiana has been struggling with an unprecedented spike of Covid-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant. A record of 2,907 people were hospitalized on Friday and hospitals are reaching full capacity, which Scalise pointed to as his biggest concern.

According to the Louisiana Health Department, 91 percent of hospitalized patients aren’t vaccinated.

Scalise said the best approach for these people is to educate them about the safety of the vaccine and warned that shame tactics will do little to curb their hesitancy.

“I have high confidence in this vaccination,” he said. “It’s safe and effective. And I think we ought to be encouraging more people to do it. But again, not shaming people who haven’t. We gotta be getting them information, encouraging people to go talk to their doctors because there is real hesitancy out there.”

“We ought to be confronting that, not trying to divide people based on who is vaccinated and who is unvaccinated,” he added.

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