Dan Rather Tweeted #RatherBeVaccinated And Here’s What Happened Next

By Bruce Y. Lee, Contributor
Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather tweeted a hashtag, #RatherBeVaccinated, and asked, “will it trend?" (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Audible) Getty Images for Audible

On Friday at 11:28 am, former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather posed a question to the Twittersphere. He presented a hashtag, #RatherBeVaccinated, and asked, “will it trend:”

This was a rather “punny” request because you may have noticed that his name was part of the hashtag. And no, his name is not Dan Vaccinated. Rather, the hashtag included his last name Rather.

Now this hashtag could have had two meanings. One possibility is that he could have been simply stating that he is vaccinated as in “Rather be vaccinated,” sort of like “Betty be cool” or “Johnny be good.” Who knows? Maybe Rather is a bit like the Hulk and refers to himself in the third person. He could regularly say things such as “Rather smash”, “Rather like fire, Thor like water,” or “Rather is eating a sandwich right now.”

The other possibility is that he was asking everyone to add “I would” or “I’d” before the hashtag and complete the sentence, as in “I’d rather be vaccinated than [fill in the alternative].” Most of the tweets seemed to take the “complete the sentence” approach such as the following:

This seemed like a rather obvious choice. When given the choice between death and most things, even when it’s something seemingly awful like “lose a lot of money” or “wear a fanny pack,” chances are you will choose the latter. The Covid-19 vaccines remain pretty much free to everyone, and serious adverse events from vaccination remain quite rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Meanwhile, studies have shown that the Covid-19 vaccines can significantly reduce your risk of death from Covid-19. That’s why the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That’s why the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine have received emergency use authorization (EUA). In fact, a study published today in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that unvaccinated people may be 11 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, as this tweet within a tweet indicated:

This study compared reported Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among unvaccinated adults with those among vaccinated adults in 13 U.S. jurisdictions from April 4 through July 17, 2021. The study also found that those who were unvaccinated were around five times more likely to have a Covid-19 coronavirus infections compared to those who were fully vaccinated during that same time period.

Of course, such a study can only show associations rather than prove direct cause-and-effect relationships. Those who were fully vaccinated may have been doing other things to reduce their risk of infections and death. For example, they may have been more likely to wear face masks or practice social distancing. Or perhaps they had gotten proper medical care sooner. Nevertheless, this certainly wasn’t the first study to provide scientific evidence that Covid-19 vaccines can protect you against infections and death from Covid-19.

Now, avoiding death may not be the only reason why you’d choose to do or not do something. For example, when selecting what clothes to wear on a given day, you may not be asking yourself, “which of these pants will help me best avoid death?” So some people using the #RatherBeVaccinated hashtag did mention other non-death reasons to get the Covid-19 vaccine. For example, this tweet mentioned a ventilator:

English supermodel and singer-songwriter Karen Elson threw in another complication of getting infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus:

And this tweet read like a menu, but not a good menu:

OK, being dewormed is not a risk of Covid-19 in and of itself. The CDC doesn’t list “worms falling off or out of you” as a symptom of Covid-19. This tweet was probably referring to those who are taking ivermectin, a deworming medication, instead of getting the Covid-19 vaccine, despite lack of scientific evidence that ivermectin even works against Covid-19, as I have covered previously for Forbes.

Other tweets focused on getting vaccinated in order to protect others either directly:

Or a bit more indirectly by reducing the number of hospitalizations and burden on the health care system in general:

Ultimately, Rather got the answer to his question rather quickly. By 2:30 pm the #RatherBeVaccinated was already trending on Twitter with over 10K mentions. At 10 pm ET, it was still on Twitter’s trending list, topping 26.6K tweets, easily outpacing other topics like “Nickelback” that may or may not affect your chances of being on a ventilator. Would you rather have it any other way?


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