Durbin: Anti-Vax Rhetoric Is Risking The Lives Of Our Fellow Americans

In speech on the Senate floor, Durbin acknowledges racial disparities in COVID-19 treatment, encourages Americans to get vaccinated

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on Americans to get vaccinated as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread across the U.S., leading to increased cases and hospitalizations. In his remarks, Durbin highlighted the importance of confronting vaccine misinformation and the need for a bipartisan commitment to promoting public health.

“The vaccines that we all have access to right now will stop the Delta variant in its tracks. It will save your life. With the spread of the Delta variant, Americans need to get vaccinated or risk getting a deadly or serious case of COVID-19. As the Director of the CDC said last week, and I quote her, ‘this is quickly becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,’” said Durbin. “Over the past week, we have started to see a renewed sense of urgency from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. They finally, finally became more vocal about dispelling disinformation about the vaccines…We ought to make it clear once and for all publicly where we can, that those who are spreading the anti-vax rhetoric are literally risking the lives of our fellow Americans. We see that good comes from sharing the facts about vaccines and the potential to save lives… Nearly seven in 10 American adults now have one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. We need to keep it up.”

Durbin spoke further about the racial health disparities that resulted in a higher number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in communities of color and a nearly three-year drop in life expectancies for people of color. Durbin went on to encourage Americans to seek medical advice about the vaccine from a trusted medical professional to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There is a long history of racial bias in our nation’s institutions from education to housing to health care. That history of racial bias has understandably led Americans to question our institutions based on fear. So let me first say this – trust has to be earned. We have a lot of work to do as a nation to address racial inequity in our health care system… Acknowledging these inequities, doing something about them is how we can build and regain trust. That’s the work that we have to do,” said Durbin. “President Biden’s American Rescue Plan was an important investment in tackling health disparities. It expanded support for community health centers. It provided a $1 billion investment in the National Service Corps to recruit doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from communities of color…If at this moment, if you’re still unvaccinated against COVID-19, and you have questions, reach out to a medical professional that you trust.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.