Critics are calling out a former COVID policy adviser to President Joe Biden after he recently claimed on national TV that children are “likely” to get a “serious” case of COVID-19 if they do not get vaccinated against the virus.
What did he say?
Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who formerly served in the Obama administration and as a member of Biden’s coronavirus advisory board, made the fallacious claim during an interview with MSNBC reporter Kristen Welker on Wednesday.
The two were discussing vaccine efficacy in children amid the rise of the Omicron variant, when he said, “With the Omicron variant, kids are either going to get the vaccine or they’re likely to get a serious condition of Omicron.”
“I am confused about parents’ attitude. Five and above, seems like it’s a no-brainer,” he added. “Two to five, I understand some hesitancy. Two and under with the small dose, I think probably a very good idea.”
“Parents have to be more willing” to get their children vaccinated, Emanuel argued.
MSNBC followed up the interview by promoting Emanuel’s warning on Twitter, despite his claim being obviously dubious.
Numerous scientific studies since the start of the pandemic have shown that children are extremely unlikely to present even mild symptoms as a result of the virus, much less come down with a severe case of COVID-19.
Furthermore, Reuters reported last month that a recent study showed Omicron is even less dangerous for children than previous variants of the pathogen.
What was the reaction?
Critics were quick to call out Emanuel and MSNBC for peddling misinformation about the pandemic, many noting that they reported the post to Twitter for removal.
“Report this dangerous misinformation,” columnist Phil Kerpen tweeted.
“This is a lie,” Townhall senior editor Matt Vespa added.
Reason editor at large Matt Welch added, “This statement is not remotely true.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said, “This is garbage @MSNBC. Totally, 100%, indisputably untrue COVID misinformation.”
“There is zero evidence that unvaccinated kids as young as 5 are ‘likely to get a serious condition of omicron.’ Zero,” The Hill columnist Joe Concha argued.
New York Assemblyman Jarrett Gandolfo called Emanuel’s claim “demonstrably false” and “straight up fearmongering.”
WEX magazine managing editor Jay Caruso noted the statement as an example of how “platforms are much more lenient with COVID/vaccine hysteria content than they are with COVID/vaccine skeptical content.”
Others contrasted Big Tech’s silence over Emanuel’s and MSNBC’s claims to the loud criticism being incessantly launched against Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan because of his opinions on COVID-19 treatments.
“This kind of stuff only proves the whole Spotify thing has nothing to do with misinformation and everything to do with power,” Bridget Phetasy tweeted.
Washington Examiner contributor Brad Polumbo remarked, “Lol but Joe Rogan spreads COVID ‘misinformation.””