McConnell, Desperate to Extinguish Fires He Started, Encourages Republicans to Get Vaccinated

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) notes his childhood fight against polio in a new PSA aimed at promoting the coronavirus vaccine.

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“As a boy, I fought polio,” McConnell says in the 30-second TV spot, according to CNN. “Today, America’s been polio-free for 40 years — thanks to vaccinations. We’ll beat COVID-19 with vaccines, too. Protect yourself and your family. Get vaccinated.”

The PSA has run more than 100 times on local television stations in Kentucky, as it has been out since last week, McConnell’s office told CNN.

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The PSA is available to be run across the country and was done in coordination with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Kentucky Broadcasters Association.

This is the second public service spot McConnell has made in an attempt to get Americans vaccinated, with the first one in June paid for by his reelection campaign.

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He told CNN he used his own money from the reelection campaign because it’s “awfully important that we continue to push to get more Americans vaccinated.”

Vaccination rates in the U.S. have largely dropped since the spring, despite the arrival of the delta variant causing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to soar.

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In McConnell’s home state, 48 percent of individuals are fully vaccinated, with the state recording more than 572,000 cases and more than 7,700 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

There have been an average of 2,315 hospitalizations in Kentucky in the past seven days, the highest level since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said two weeks ago the state was reaching a “critical point” with the hospital systems overrun by COVID-19 cases.

McConnell has been a vocal proponent of Americans getting the vaccine, even as some other Republicans have been more hesitant to get the shot.

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