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April 15, 2021: Safety Scare Emboldens Anti-Vaxxers

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News about very rare issues with blood clots in two coronavirus vaccines has harmed public health efforts and emboldened anti-vaxxers in Africa. And stateside, vaccination efforts in Republican states is lagging behind Democratic states.

Meanwhile, an unreleased inspector general’s report finds glaring problems throughout the Capitol Police operation that fueled its failures during the January 6th insurrection. The report’s author is supposed to appear before a Congressional committee today.

And lastly, the Minnesota cop who resigned Tuesday was charged with manslaughter yesterday for the killing of young Daunte Wright. The family expects protests in Brooklyn Center to continue despite the charge.


The blowback has begun. The New York Times reports that the safety scares engulfing the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines have jeopardized campaigns to inoculate the world. With new infections surging on nearly every continent, signs that the vaccination drive is in peril are emerging, most disconcertingly in Africa. In Malawi, people are asking doctors how to expunge the AstraZeneca vaccine from their bodies. In South Africa, health officials have paused giving the Johnson and Johnson shot, the only one they have. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not a single person has been vaccinated.

In those countries and others, the Times reports, Western colonialism has left a residue of mistrust in vaccines, which could harden if the perception takes hold that rich countries are dumping second-rate shots on the global south. Already, the recent pauses have vindicated vaccine skeptics and made many others feel duped. African health officials have reacted with fury at the breezy reassurances of American and European lawmakers that people denied the AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson shots could be given another vaccine. In much of the world, there are no other vaccines.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press notes an emerging pattern: Americans in blue states are getting vaccinated at more robust rates, while those in red states seem more hesitant. Out in

front is New Hampshire, where sixty five percent of the adult population has received at least one dose. Following behind are New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts at fifty five percent or greater. All tend to vote Democratic. Meanwhile, at the bottom are five states where fewer than forty percent have rolled up their sleeves. Four of them – Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee – lean Republican. The fifth is Georgia, which is red leaning purple. So what’s their excuse? Western colonialism?

Report Details Capitol Police Failures

Every new detail is worse than the last. As Congress pushes for a return to normalcy months after the January 6th riot at the Capitol, the AP has obtained a damning internal report about the deadly siege. It includes missed intelligence in which future insurrectionists warned, "We get our president or we die." The report casts serious doubt on whether the police would be able to respond to another large-scale attack.

The Capitol Police have refused to publicly release the report – prepared in March and marked law enforcement sensitive – despite congressional pressure. Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, who heads the House Administration Committee, said she found the report, " detailed and disturbing." The inspector general who prepared it, Michael Bolton, was scheduled to testify before Lofgren’s committee today. Bolton found that the department’s deficiencies were – and remain – widespread: Equipment was too old to use; officers didn’t complete required training; and there was a lack of direction at the Civil Disturbance Unit, which exists to ensure Congress is not disrupted by protests. The report also focuses on several pieces of missed intelligence, including an FBI memo sent the day before the insurrection. The memo warned of threatening online postings by Trump backers, including one comment that Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in and blood being spilled.

Separately, the Washington Post reports that a Capitol Police officer has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for fatally shooting Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt as she attempted to breach a set of doors deep in the Capitol during the January siege. Authorities determined that it was reasonable for the officer to believe he was firing in self-defense or in defense of members of Congress who were fleeing the House chamber. Prosecutors did not identify the officer.

Ex-Cop Charged For Daunte Wright Killing

The search for justice continues in the upper midwest. NBC News reports that the former Minnesota police officer who was captured on camera fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was arrested in connection with Wright's death. Kim Potter, a twenty six- year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was taken into custody about 11:30 AM at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in Saint Paul. She will be charged with second- degree manslaughter in connection with Wright's death, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced. The charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years behind bars. Wright, who is Black, died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office, which classified the manner of death as a homicide.

NBC reports that Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Wright family, received word about the charges while sitting on a panel discussion alongside the mothers of other young Black males killed by police. Crump told reporters, "the reason why we are getting due process so quickly in the state of Minnesota for the killing of Daunte Wright is because of the blood of their children." Without the attention paid to the slayings of Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, Crump speculated that charges in the Wright matter might not have been possible. Wright's older brother told NBC the family was hoping for a more serious charge to be filed against Potter.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, the Washington Post reports that the trial of Derek Chauvin continued, with the defense’s medical expert testifying that the former officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck did not play a critical role in the his death last May. During cross- examination, the defense expert acknowledged that Floyd might have survived if he got emergency help. If only.


CBS News reports that two House committees took up measures long championed by progressives yesterday. One panel voted to advance a bill to admit Washington, DC, as a state, while the other took up a measure that would create a commission studying reparations for descendants of slaves. Let’s do this!

More than eighty seven thousand Americans died of drug overdoses over the twelve- month period that ended in September, the New York Times reports, eclipsing the toll from any year since the opioid epidemic began in the 1990s. The biggest jump in overdose deaths took place in April and May, when fear and stress were rampant, job losses were multiplying and the strictest lockdown measures were in effect. Truly saddening statistics.

According to City and State New York, Andrew Yang’s two campaign managers, his press secretary, his policy director and multiple senior advisers don’t actually work for his New York City mayoral campaign. They’re employed by Tusk Strategies, a lobbying firm. The arrangement raises concerns about what kind of access this lobbying firm – and the private clients that hire it – would have to the mayor if Yang were to win the election. Or, you might say, he’s just making government more efficient by cutting out the middlemen.

The AP reports that the California Gold Rush town of Placerville will change its logo to remove a noose that stems from its mid-nineteenth century reputation as "Hangtown" following lynchings of criminal suspects by mobs of miners. The city council’s vote on Tuesday was unanimous. Sorry, Placerville, but Parks and Rec already did this bit.

That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.


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