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Dermot Cole

Dermot Cole

The state publicity workers who create the public palaver from Gov. Mike Dunleavy about COVID-19 vaccinations have outdone themselves,

At a time when hospitals are sounding the alarm about unvaccinated Alaskans becoming seriously ill, Dunleavy sounds like a combination of Big Bird, Smokey Bear and the Crash Test Dummies.

Instead of a direct urgent plea to the unvaccinated to get the shots and protect themselves and their families from a severe danger, Dunleavy tiptoes around the topic with a bizarre performance as Mr. Safety.

For months he’s been parroting the Republican “Get a shot if you feel like it” line, conveying no sense of urgency.

In the spring, Dunleavy was not willing to tell his supporters that refusing the vaccination endangered the recovery of Alaska from the pandemic. He was not willing to say that the most important thing people could do was to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is a choice & it will not be mandated by the state, but I hope you consider it,” Dunleavy’s office said for him in April.

Now we have a growing crisis among the unvaccinated, a situation made worse by propaganda and the Republican opposition to science. Nearly everyone hospitalized with COVID-19 is unvaccinated.

Credit Sen. Lisa Murkowski for at last sending a clear message to Alaskans: “Get the vaccine.”

Murkowski tweet

Dunleavy’s still not willing to say those three words, without following it up with some version of “if you want to.”

Dunleavy is running for re-election and his unvaccinated supporters will turn on him if he delivers a clear message about Alaskans getting sicker by the day and filling up the hospitals because they refused the vaccination.

He won’t take on conspiracy theories, but he is willing to highlight drunk driving, the failure to use life vests and even the failure to use safety equipment with power tools as immediate threats to our health care system. He should have tossed in a warning about beer goggles and failing to cook meat to the recommended temperature.

And what about the failure to get a COVID vaccination? Just “consider” getting a vaccine if you feel like it, he says.

“Please, drive safely on the roads. Put on those goggles when using the saw or drill. Wear a life vest if going out on the water. Make sure your campfires are extinguished. Consider getting the vaccine for COVID-19, like I did. It's available and free,” says Dunleavy.

Consider that this is political cowardice.

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