A conservative Tennessee radio host who urged listeners not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has changed tracks and called on listeners to get vaccinated, after contracting the virus and ending up in hospital in “a very serious condition”.
In a statement posted to social media, Phil Valentine’s family detailed his condition and said, “Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GET YOUR VACCINE!” “
The family also said the host of WTN had “never been a” anti-vaccine “,” but “regret not being more” pro-vaccine “with more vehemence and look forward to being able to defend more vigorously. this position as soon as he returns. air, which we are all hoping for soon.
Valentine, 61, however downplayed the need for vaccines and sing a song called Vaxman, to the tune of Taxman, George Harrison’s Beatles act against government taxation.
“Let me tell you how it will be,” he sang, “and I don’t care if you agree, because I’m the Vaxman, yeah, I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me to come, be thankful that I don’t hold you back.
As the Delta variant of the coronavirus fuels a sharp increase in the number of cases in the United States, rural and predominantly Republican-led states have lagged behind in vaccinations and have become hotspots for infection, putting severe pressure on strain on health resources.
Republican politicians and influential right-wing broadcasters, including Fox News hosts, have started calling on people to be shot.
Tennessee is only followed by the Deep South states when it comes to immunization rates and has seen political wrangling over access to immunizations for adolescents and, in one case, an attack by a woman who shouted “No vaccine” as she allegedly tried to mow down health workers with her car.
Data shared with the Guardian on Saturday showed that authorities in Memphis believe 80% of new Covid cases in the city involve the Delta variant.
A nurse at the Methodist University Hospital said: “Seeing patient after patient go through this, especially when we actually have something that has proven to work… It’s just sad to see it, that we’re back. at this stage. “
In December, Valentine wrote on his blog that while former President Donald Trump should get more credit for supporting the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines, “the vaccine is not for everyone.”
He added: “If I decide not to get the vaccine, I am not putting anyone’s life in danger, except maybe people who have made the same decision. With this thing being 95% effective, there really is no way I could infect someone who had the hit. This is if I even catch the virus.
Breakthrough infections are possible. Health officials say those who have had Covid-19 should still get the vaccine.
Valentine also wrote that he was “not an anti-vaxxer. I’m just using common sense. What are my chances of catching the Covid? They are quite low. What are my chances of dying from Covid if I get it? Probably less than 1%. I do what everyone should be doing and this is my own health risk assessment.
“If you have any underlying health problems, you probably need to get the vaccine. If you’re not at a high risk of dying from Covid, you’re probably safer not to get it. It conjures up screams of horror from many, but it’s true. I weigh the known against the unknown.
CNN reported that Valentine also “tried to draw comparisons between hospital workers who were required to indicate their Covid-19 vaccination status on their identification badges working with Jews forced to wear yellow stars in Nazi Germany “.
Harsh rhetoric against proof of vaccination or other public health measures has spread. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right congresswoman from Georgia, was recently forced to apologize for comparing the mask warrants to measures implemented by the Nazis.
Valentine’s family said on Thursday that he was “suffering from Covid pneumonia and the side effects that come with it.” He is in the hospital in the intensive care unit for assisted breathing, but is NOT on a ventilator. “
They added, “Phil and his family would like you all to know that he loves you all and appreciates your concern, thoughts and prayers more than you will ever know. “