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.
How many breakthrough cases of polio are there? https://t.co/2LrQTdFkx6
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) December 20, 2021
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.
There's a pretty big difference between a mostly eradicated virus and a virus that is still very active.
You want to compare numbers? You can start with finding comparisons of equal nature. https://t.co/ZrQVkZeteR
— Emily Faust (@EmilyFaust13) December 20, 2021
One thing that helps prevent breakthrough cases of polio is not having it run rampant. That helps a lot, given that even the polio vaccine is not quite 100% effective. Luckily for us, people back then lined up to get their vaccines to eradicate polio in the U.S.
— Donita Diamata (@DiamataDonita) December 20, 2021
The reason polio was eradicated is due to mass vaccinations where everyone got the vaccine in a short period of time. There were breakthrough cases early after vaccination. Like flu vaccine, the Covid vaccine is designed to minimize the symptoms of the virus. Quit spreading LIES. https://t.co/S42fHSXCnK
— Hedy Salazar (@queeniema52) December 20, 2021
Polio was eradicated due to its vaccine.
Polio was eradicated in 1979, because EVERYONE GOT VACCINATED.
Polio which is 4 shots, is still given today to keep it from coming back.
Your ignorance, @mtgreenee is showing. When you don't know what your even talking about. https://t.co/NA2gcremfL
— 𝐁𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐚𝐫𝐚🕯 (@HoosierRebel44) December 20, 2021
Social media users began skewering Greene's intellect.
One could say: How can someone be this dumb? But I ask myself: how are we failing to educate so many people? How are we going to change that in Academia? https://t.co/OaNPYRJuGi
— Omar E. Cornejo (@ocornejoPopGen) December 20, 2021
OMG ... @mtg is seriously one of the most ignorant people to ever serve in Congress FFS 🤦🏻♀️ I just can't with these people anymore .... 😑 https://t.co/5iWUYZWYzJ
— Juliana (@OneWokeWoman) December 20, 2021
It's still early and I am confident this is the dumbest thing I will see on the internet today. https://t.co/O4vzGDPJk7
— Joe H (@angryjoeIA) December 20, 2021
If stupidity was a virus, she'd be patient zero https://t.co/oxZlitUEur
— Gareth Dimelow (@gdimelow) December 20, 2021
you can't argue with someone this stupid. she'll just keep doubling down on the hatred. https://t.co/09633glrnr
— 𝕋𝕠𝕞 ℝ𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕤𝕥𝕤 𝔽𝕒𝕤𝕔𝕚𝕤𝕞 🏠 🌊🌊 ⚛️ (@TLWellborn3rd) December 20, 2021
No cases of polio have originated in the United States since 1979.