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Sen. Ron Johnson hosts COVID-19 panel focusing on vaccine skepticism; local doctors respond

Doctor group criticizes Senator Johnson
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Posted at 5:46 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 22:14:51-05

A group of Wisconsin doctors are criticizing a panel hosted Monday by Sen. Ron Johnson, (R) Wisconsin, which largely focused on skepticism for the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Nobody can tell you the long-term safety profile of these vaccines. Nobody. It's unknowable, because we haven't taken the time," Johnson said.

Johnson brought together a panel of doctors and other medical experts for the panel, most of whom promoted the use of unproven medication for early treatment of the virus.

"I will embrace anything," Johnson said during the panel. "I am completely agnostic when it comes to whatever drug will end this pandemic: vaccine, I don't care. I want this pandemic over. I want people to live."

Wisconsin doctors with the Committee to Protect Health Care said Johnson is spreading COVID "misinformation," and said the vaccine is safe and effective.

"There have been over 4 billion doses given on this planet and there are very low incidents of adverse reactions on the order of one to two per 10,000 to 100,000," said Dr. William Reed, a cardiothoracic surgeon in La Crosse.

Data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association shows there are more than 200 COVID-19 patients in hospitals with nearly 95% of ICU beds currently full.

"The overwhelming majority of ICU patients in our hospitals are unvaccinated," Reed said. "We've been watching - painfully, I might add - what happens to unvaccinated people in our hospitals: How they die more frequently, and how their hospital course is more likely to result in long-haul or multiple morbidities associated."

Current reports from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show unvaccinated people are 10 times as likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are also 14 times more likely to die from the virus.