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Mr. Michael Osterholm addressed disinformation with the Vikings, appealed to players’ responsibility to their community

Jerry Jones spoke up about how important it is for people to get vaccinated, emphasizing that Cowboys players "check 'I' at the door" when it comes to public health.

Dr. Michael Osterholm met with the Vikings on Monday, in a last-ditch effort to persuade anti-vaccine players (led by quarterback Kirk Cousins) to get the shot.

Appearing Wednesday on Morning Joe, Dr. Osterholm summarized his message to the Vikings.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to meet with the team, all the coaches and players,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about the Vikings’ efforts to get all of their team vaccinated and to promote vaccinations throughout the community.

“What I shared with them was really just addressing this disinformation that’s out there. A rumor that 6,700 people had died from taking the vaccine. Absolutely not true. A rumor that the vaccine makes you sterile. Absolutely not true. And so it’s amazing once a disinformation piece of information becomes talked about, it becomes fact.

“And so what I did was just systematically went through and talked about what are the risks of getting the vaccine . . . what are the risks of not getting the vaccine. And the other thing, I appealed to their team as a team. We have to each take care of each other. Getting vaccinated today is not just about protecting yourself. If you’re an adult, it’s about protecting your kids from getting the virus.

“If you’re a leader on a football team, it’s about the community looking to you. Young men and women in our community saying in fact, ‘If they’re not going to get it, why should I get it? But if they do get it, maybe I should get it.’ And so I think it was really an ideal opportunity to kind of share about vaccine and what it means to the community.”

Dr. Osterholm also said that he has been in medicine for 46 years and that he has had involvement in many controversies. “It wasn’t until COVID that I started routinely receiving death threats. It wasn’t until COVID that the vile kinds of communications, where people assume that I was out to do them in, to march them into some kind of camp.”

He punctuated his thoughts by explaining that everyone will have a COVID-related outcome, at some point. “People just have to understand you can’t run out the game clock here,” Dr. Osterholm said. “And unfortunately that may mean you laying in an intensive care unit, and possibly never coming out the door alive.”

Even as we see more and more evidence of people who resisted the vaccine getting sick and changing their tune dramatically, people continue to refuse to relent, spewing conspiracy theories and other nonsense to justify their position. Then, when one of their arguments becomes gutted (such as “it’s not FDA approved!”), they move the goalposts to something else, implausible as it may be.

We really are living in strange times. Some would say it’s a Civil War fought with far different weapons. However, those who won’t get vaccinated are the ones playing Russian roulette, with their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.