Far-right Congresswoman and prominent conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is one of the most vocal disinformation peddlers of the virus that's killed over 800 thousand Americans.
She's racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fines for refusing to wear a mask on the House floor, despite mask usage being proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In the early days of the pandemic, she railed against school and business closures designed to slow the spread of the virus.
Now, she's doubled down in promoting skepticism of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, which have been proven to minimize the risk of transmission, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Greene has suggested the vaccines are harmful, relying on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to support her claims, despite it being a database of unverified reports. The Congresswoman has also suggested shooting volunteer vaccine liaisons who go door-to-door with information regarding the vaccines.
Now, in response to news that Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey tested positive for the virus, the Congresswoman suggested the vaccines don't work because they haven't eradicated COVID-19.
She pointed to the polio vaccines, which successfully eradicated polio in the United States in the decades after they hit the market.
The polio vaccine was developed by virologist Dr. Jonas Salk and was mass produced in the mid-1950s. Despite Greene's attempt to use the polio vaccine's eradication of polio to discredit COVID-19 vaccines, there are important contextual factors at play.
First of all, Salk declined to patent his vaccine—a key decision that led to optimal global production and distribution of the vaccine. Unfortunately, there remain stark global inequalities in vaccine distribution. Without global herd immunity, the virus continues to form variant strains, many of which are more resistant to vaccines and more transmissible.
What's more, it took around a quarter of a century after mass vaccine production before polio was functionally eradicated in the United States. What's more, all 50 states have long required polio vaccinations as a condition of elementary school attendance—the same type of mandates that Greene vocally opposes.
People called her out on the false equivalence.
Social media users began skewering Greene's intellect.
No cases of polio have originated in the United States since 1979.