Thursday, September 9, 2021

State legislator's vaccine remarks draw fire

Jewell Jones
State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) has come under harsh public criticism for several social media posts that appear to question both the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and the need for vaccinations against the virus which has killed more than 20,000 Michigan residents.

As cases of the Delta-variant of the virus continue to rise in the state and hospitalizations of children affected by the strain are taxing hospital systems, Jones' posts drew fire from parents, state officials and health experts, along with his political party leaders.   

Jones, last week, posted an Instagram meme with actor Jon Hamm's face and verbiage “Stop saying you did your research before you got the injection.You are the research.” 

He also suggested that he would use his elected office to provide help to those seeking an exemption from vaccinations for work or school, stating, “If anybody needs letter by me to support you filling out an exemption for vaccination for work or school purposes, let me know.” 

A separate portion of the same post stated, “Can't make any promises but it's worth a sHoT,” with a needle emoji. “God gave us choice: Do good and live, or do evil and die. Choice(s) is/are an integral aspect of the foundation of our world. Why should you be forced to do anything (sic).”  He posted other anti-vaccine mandate comments on the Instatgram account. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins and a litany of scientific research have indicated the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. More than 173 million people are fully vaccinated in the U.S., including more than 4.7 million Michiganders. 

Jones is currently awaiting trial on charges of drunken and reckless driving and resisting police from an incident in July during which police reports claimed they were forced to use a taser and pepper spray to control his drunken aggression and hostility. His attorney has denied those charges and claims the police used excessive force. At the time of the arrest, Jones' blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit and there was a loaded handgun in the front seat console of the vehicle. 

“As House Democratic Leader, I stand with the well-documented science showing that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective,” said State Rep. Donna Lasinski (D, Scio Township) in a statement.  

The FDA recently issued formal approval for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overturn a lower court's ruling that Indiana University could mandate the vaccines for students. Both potentially bolster efforts to mandate vaccines.