May 17, 2022

We need consistency

By Mariannette Miller-Meeks:

Over the past year, the Biden Administration has failed to deliver on their promise to shut down the virus. Instead, they have continued to politicize the pandemic and fearmonger.

They have threatened the jobs of hard-working Americans, including our military, with a mandate that has been struck down by the Supreme Court.

They have threatened to shut down businesses even though Main Street America has already suffered enough and faced the challenges of an ongoing supply chain crisis.

They pay lip service to in-person learning, appropriating funds to make schools safer and threatening to return to virtual learning that has already caused irreversible damage to the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of our students.

We must do everything we can to keep Americans safe, our economy growing, and our schools open. We must do this by following the science and giving Americans consistent advice that does not change daily.

They have ignored common sense and cherry-picked the science that would fit their narrative numerous times. Recently, Dr. Rochelle Walensky said what we all have known for some time; that vaccines do not prevent the transmission of this virus.

Last month, we learned that the White House thoroughly dismissed a detailed and well-researched proposal to drastically increase the availability of rapid tests, frustrating experts.

In stark contrast, Iowa under Gov. Kim Reynolds launched Test Iowa all the way back in April of 2020 to expand testing availability. In July 2021, Test Iowa was replaced with free at-home coronavirus tests.

I have been incredibly disappointed by the intense focus on vaccines as the only way out of this pandemic. I have seen no interest from this Administration to take into account infection-acquired immunity.

I have seen little work to make treatments or therapeutics readily accessible to all Americans. The science shows that no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing infection or transmission, so we must seriously begin to work to help Americans with treatment options.

We know that vaccines can dramatically reduce severe illness, hospitalization, and death from initial or breakthrough cases. I traveled to every county in my district administering vaccines to Iowans who wanted them.

As a doctor, I know that everyone has their own unique medical needs and conditions; we cannot treat them all the same. I encourage every American to speak with their doctor to determine if the vaccine is right for them. It was right for me.

But the harmful rhetoric and actions from the Administration are not helpful and must change immediately. We must work in a bipartisan manner to help Americans adapt to life with this virus. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to get the job done.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a member of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and a resident of Ottumwa who currently represents Iowa’s Second District in the United States House of Representatives.