Text-Drivers R Killers
2021-08-10 14:49:45 UTC
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson over questionable assertions about COVID-19
Johnson, who has said publicly that he won't get vaccinated and has used
his position in Congress to advocate for alternative and unproven COVID-19
treatments, drew new criticism this week for an event he organized
spotlighting people who say they have suffered adverse reactions to the
At a roundtable in Milwaukee on Monday, Johnson said that he is pro-
vaccine, acknowledging that more than 300 million doses have been given to
people and "for the vast majority of people, the vaccine has been given
with little or no side effects."
But Johnson said he wanted to share the stories of people who have
experienced side effects. He was joined by about half a dozen people who
have experienced side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, including former
Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Ken Ruettgers, whose wife, Sheryl, had
a severe neurological reaction after her first dose.
None of the speakers, who all described similar symptoms including
paralysis and neurological impairments in the days after the vaccine, were
Johnson's event was widely criticized, with public officials and health
care experts asking him to cancel it. Many worry this type of rhetoric
will keep people from getting vaccinated.
In a statement, the Milwaukee Health Department said Johnson's motives
should be questioned.
"The scientific facts about the COVID-19 vaccine remain: it is safe, it is
effective, and complications are extremely rare," read a statement from
the department. "More importantly, it saves lives. The burden of disease,
hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19 are the lowest the City of
Milwaukee has experienced since the start of this pandemic."
Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County
Office of Emergency management said facts, evidence and science need to be
Sign up for daily news!
Stay informed with WPR's email newsletter.
"As we see the unvaccinated in our country and certainly around the world
continuing to become ill, and in many cases die from COVID, and its new
and increasingly dangerous variants, it is essential to remain honest and
transparent with the public about the safety of the vaccine," Weston said.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said the risk of contracting and
dying from COVID-19 for unvaccinated people is much higher than any kinds
of issues patients have with side effects associated with the vaccine.
Ruettgers, the former Packer, worked with Johnson to organize Monday's
press conference. He said he knew he would be criticized for speaking out
about vaccine side effects.
"Lets make the truth our friend," Ruettgers said. "We know it's 99
percent, plus or minus, are doing great. What I would advocate for is they
are being heard or believed so they can be taken care of. Weve been at
battle against the pandemic and there has been damage."
A woman sits at a table as she speaks at a press conference.
Candace Hayden from Detroit, Mich., details medical problems she
experienced that she claims are related to the COVID-19 vaccine Monday,
June 28, 2021, at the Milwaukee Federal Building in Milwaukee. Angela
Candace Hayden, of Detroit, also spoke at the event. She said she suffered
from paresthesia and partial paralysis from the chest down after being
vaccinated, which led to a 26-day hospital stay.
But Hayden said she would take the vaccine again.
"There is no template that says if you have A, B or C. You may experience
the adverse side effects," Hayden said. "I for one, would have still taken
the vaccination, because my job as an American citizen is to support us
getting out of this pandemic."