Ron Johnson
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh). (Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Senator spread multiple falsehoods in a DC event based on undermining vaccine confidence.

Doctors with the Committee to Protect Health Care on Monday said US Sen. Ron Johnson continued to pose a public health risk due to his continued spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.

Three doctors—Dr. Ann Helms, a Milwaukee neurologist and state lead with the Committee to Protect Health Care; Dr. Bob Freedland, a La Crosse opthamologist; and Dr. William Reid, a Watertown cardiac surgeon—raked Johnson over the coals hours after he hosted a panel featuring a dozen doctors known to spread discredited claims and conspiracy theories about the pandemic.

“Sen. Johnson isn’t going to save lives, protect people, or get people back safely in schools or work by rolling out a clown car of COVID-19 conspiracy theorists who will only give people very bad and dangerous ideas,” Freedland said.

Speakers at Johnson’s panel spread multiple falsehoods, such as that the disproven drug ivermectin is a viable COVID-19 treatment, the development of COVID-19 vaccines was rushed, and that Black people need a lower dose of vaccine.

“I think there’s just an interest in pretending this [pandemic] isn’t happening,” Helms said of Johnson and the speakers. “We’ve made this into a partisan issue when it shouldn’t be. This should be about simply listening to the science, but we’ve made this into a partisan issue.”

The doctors said the vast majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows unvaccinated people are three times more likely to be infected, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die from the virus than vaccinated individuals.

“These people discount the fact that COVID exists and that vaccines are effective, right up until they get infected with the COVID virus and come into the emergency room and find themselves in the ICU hooked up to a ventilator,” Reid said.

Correction: The final quote from Dr. William Reid originally misspelled his last name. We regret this error.