Holcomb frustrated with ‘absurd’ vaccine-refusal reasons

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With Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations doubling in the past month, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb expressed frustration Tuesday at the “absurd” reasons some cite for refusing COVID-19 vaccinations, although he isn’t offering any new state actions to combat the spread of the virus.

Many members of the Republican-dominated Legislature are set for a second year to push measures handcuffing anti-virus efforts—this time a bill forcing businesses to grant broad exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements that could be voted upon soon after the new legislative session starts in early January.

Indiana is approaching COVID-19 hospitalization levels not seen since this time a year ago before vaccines were widely available, with one health official saying the hospitalization peak could be a month away. Nevertheless, Holcomb is looking for lawmakers to approve administrative steps that he said would allow him to end Indiana’s COVID-19 public health emergency, which he first declared in March 2020, despite many health experts arguing now is not the time.

Holcomb recalled during a Statehouse interview about a woman telling him that she was glad he opposed President Joe Biden’s proposed vaccination mandates on large businesses, but also that she was disappointed Holcomb had received the COVID-19 vaccine because “I had a chip in me now.”

“We deal with the absurd and we deal with facts and there’s a lot in between there for people to form their own opinions,” Holcomb told The Associated Press. “What I have to do is try to be persuasive enough so that folks understand that they’re going to learn it the easy way or the hard way, unfortunately, by being vaccinated or not.”

Holcomb received his first COVID-19 shot in March as a mass vaccination clinic opened at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and received a booster shot on Nov. 2. He has consistently encouraged vaccinations but has stepped back from highlighting state actions since ending his regular coronavirus news briefings in March.

Indiana hospitals were treating nearly 2,500 COVID-19 patients as of Sunday, a 106% one-month increase and a 25% one-week jump, according to state health department tracking. About one-quarter of those patients are in hospital intensive care units. The Indiana hospitalizations are almost as many as the September peak from the state’s summer surge and within 1,000 of the late-2020 surge that threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

Indiana has the country’s 11th lowest rate for fully vaccinated population at 51%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine rural counties scattered around the state have vaccination rates below 40%.

Holcomb said the pandemic remains a real threat and is taking lives, but he maintains that the state’s role is to provide vaccines and other resources, not impose vaccine requirements or mask mandates.

“It is, though, largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated and at some point, and we’re there, individuals need to take responsibility for their lives,” Holcomb said. “Unfortunately, their inactions have adverse consequences to others.”

The state has been averaging about 25 COVID-19 deaths a day for the past month, down from the mid-40s in late September, as Indiana’s pandemic death toll has topped 17,700.

Health experts were worried about fresh infection surges as people spend more time indoors even before identification of the omicron variant sparked new worldwide concerns.

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor said a crunch for health care workers and concerns about possible flu outbreaks are happening at a time when COVID-19 patients have been taking up what normally would have been some slack in the state’s hospitals.

“We’ve just got to continue to message, not just the state but all of us, I think individually, to our friends, neighbors, everyone who is shown some hesitancy to get vaccinated. The time is now and it’s not just about contracting COVID, it’s about making sure that there’s a hospital bed for you or your loved one, no matter what.”

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48 thoughts on “Holcomb frustrated with ‘absurd’ vaccine-refusal reasons

    1. With respect, the Governor does not handle trash and crime. That is handled by the Mayor at the City level. Public health is his lane. Since Holcomb is not requiring mandates how is he not staying in his lane?

    1. follow the science Edward…vaccinated or not, you can contract and pass the virus. Nobody is exempt in either category. One may die and the other doesn’t, and that may end up being the differentiating statistic in this matter. Some say that the unvaccinated is where the current virus is getting legs but if that were true then the vaccinated would not contract or pass the virus, which is our present reality.

    2. In epidemiology, there is an R factor. It is how many people an infected person will. pass a bug on to. Once the R factor goes below 1, a virus will slowly fade away, meaning one infected person infected less than one other person. COVID Classic had an R factor of about 2 or 3. Delta had an R factor of maybe 4. With all of these vaccines will cut the R factor is cut down by a factor of 3 or 4.

      It is simple arithmetic to figure out that if everyone were vaccinated, the virus would slowly die out. Unfortunately blatant politicalization of everything COVID has given us a significant portion of the population that still put themselves (and through clearly proven statistical modeling) everyone else at risk.

    1. See the point above from Dan M. While you are correct that the vaccine does not completely stop the spread, it does slow the spread, and we MUST do everything we can do slow the spread or else the virus will keep thriving and mutating to the point that vaccines do no one any good. You are correct, JL, that your choice to avoid the vaccine affects you personally in terms of increasing your risk of severe COVID, hospitalization and death. If you want to risk your own life, sure, that is your choice. But you are wrong in thinking that your choice has no effect on other people. It is this ongoing, “absurd” choice made by so many selfish people that is helping to perpetuate the pandemic and increase the risk to EVERYONE, even those who have done their part by getting vaccinated. No matter how self-focused you are, we are in this together as a community, and we would all be better off if the selfish would get onboard with the rest of us and do their part.

    2. JL – nothing in life is absolute. Getting the flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t get it. Buying a lottery ticket doesn’t mean you’re gonna get rich. This black & white view pushed by a media that only push provocative agendas (not to inform you; to keep you watching) has resulted in many more deaths than necessary. And while I agree with “my body my choice,” the bottom line is your choice to not get vaccinated could result in the death of someone else. That’s not the type of attitude the Founders had in mind for this country.

    3. JL, you clearly are not the sharpest tool in the toolbox. All of your comments are proving to be full of ignorance.

  1. get your vaccine and you’ll be fine right? And leave everybody else the hell alone. forcing people to get vaccinated is wrong.
    and yes I am vaccinated.

    if your scared – get vaccinated, wash your hands, wear a mask, stay home, and start eating healthy and exercising.
    99.98% survival rate in Indiana

    1. The survival rate I have seen cited is 98.2%, not 99.98%. If you think that sounds like quibbling, consider some other statistics that feel a bit less rosy than what you are citing. Something on the order of 1 of every 420 Americans has died of COVID, and the deaths are on the rise again, so that will only get worse. Is 1 in 420 an acceptable number for you? Will 1 in every 300 be acceptable when we get there? How about 1 in every 200? Every American who refuses to get the shot makes that outcome more and more likely. And here is another one…more than 99% of all people who are dying from COVID now are people who have refused the vaccine. And as stated above, those vaccine refusers are endangering not only their own lives, but the health of everyone else, because their refusal is helping keep COVID alive to continue mutating, and every new variant is a potential new threat to everyone. Vaccine refusers are playing for Team COVID.

    2. please cite your numbers? 1 of 420 is a 99.997% survival rate so not sure what you are saying. anyone that is younger than 70 has a better chance of dying of a lot of other things. let’s all be honest here and stop the lies.

    3. I think that his bogus number is something like the total population/infected people that have died. Not Population Infected/Infected people that die.

      I personally would never get in a car again if on average out of every 100 trips, I was going to end up hospitalized, which is closer to the true number.

    4. Again, not to split hairs, Dustin, but the survival rate represents the percentage of people who survived a bout with the disease. The denominator of your percentage encompasses ALL people, including those who have not gotten the disease. Cancer, by comparison, has a roughly two-thirds survival rate after five years…and that means two-thirds of those who have been diagnosed with cancer survive for at least five years. On one hand, you could observe that cancer is therefore much more serious, statistically speaking, than COVID, because its survival rate is lower. But cancer is not contagious, whereas COVID is contagious, and getting more contagious with each new variant. If you skip your colonoscopy, the only person at higher risk for cancer is you. If you skip the COVID vaccine, you are multiplying the risk that every human being on the planet faces, because every extra day the pandemic continues is a day when a lethal new variant might mutate. Why are we no longer capable of considering the common good?

    1. You are discounting the people that die that die because they are denied care when hospitals overflow and have to start rationing resources. The reason this PUBLIC health problem is that effects the general public, in a way that many people are too shortsighted to see.

    2. the hospitals have not overflowed or had to ration. they may now that so many nurses and healthcare workers were fired or quit because of vaccine mandate. most of which may have already had covid and have higher immunity to the vaccinated. stop with your fear mongering

    3. Dustin D – very few nurses or health care workers have been fired because they refused to be vaccinated, because MOST of them did get vaccinated. The folks who may have been fired for not getting vaccinated were not front-line health personnel but were custodians, clerks, food service workers, etc.

  2. I really wish our department of health addressed the entire issue(s) in this state that are contributing to prolong the hospitalizations that are being attributed solely to Covid. It may very well help individuals not only better defend themselves against Covid, but may also help them obtain better overall health.

    As of 2020, Indiana has the fifth highest rate of obesity in the United States (36%+). If you look at “excess body weight” it is 66%. (State of Childhood Obesity)
    So far, in 2021 alone, Indiana has an estimated 13,460 deaths from various forms of Cancer. (Indiana Cancer Society)
    Indiana has the 16th highest rate of Type 2 and pre-diabetes in the US. (State of Childhood Obesity)

    To not acknowledge that this State has much larger health challenges that are contributing to the Covid issue, is akin to not acknowledging that obesity leads to higher rates of diabetes and cancer. You can get jabbed all you want, but a 24/7 compromised immune system isn’t going to protect you from much, including Covid. From the Johns Hopkins web site;

    “The data showed a rate of about 1 in 5,000 experienced a breakthrough infection between January 17 and August 21, 2021. More recently, some populations have shown breakthrough infection rates of approximately 1 in 100 fully vaccinated people.”

    1. Jacob L. – And those who did experience a break-through infection exhibited fewer (if any) symptoms and didn’t require hospitalizations or ICU care. Nor did they die. These are important points you failed to include in your argument.

    2. Brent,
      I did not include them because I am not writing a book, nor am I trying to provoke an argument. I am simply pointing out something our healthcare leaders are not – the vaccine is good but not the ENTIRE solution. Covid is bad but not the ENTIRE challenge. Unfortunately, many have bought into this over simplified, and over politicized storyline, which has helped prolong all of this.

    3. Jacob – the vaccination is the quickest way to protect oneself against the virus. Changing one’s diet, quitting smoking, et al, takes time…plus the residual effects of poor lifestyle choices linger in the body long after those choices are corrected. As for my points about breakthrough infections, it was made because you last paragraph raised the issue but failed to provide the context or consequences.

    1. Spare me. If the government took action to encourage people to eat better (even things like mandating more exercise classes in schools), folks like you would be screaming about Big Brother and socialism.

    2. I suggest the coolade drinkers especially, turn the TV off and do your own research. There is a ton of legitimate info available from independent sources (i.e. not the CDC, fakebook, twitter, social media or the government agents controlled by the communists running this country) that lay out not only the challenges of COVID, but the actual effectiveness of the so called vaccine, which in reality(by definition) is no vaccine at all….by definition, its merely a therapeutic at best. I’m not anti vax but I am anti stupid, anti uninformed. Do your own research and turn off CNN, MSNBC, or whatever propaganda station you favor. Its the lazy and uninformed that this government (regardless of political leaning) look to manipulate. Search on any topic and you will see a plethora of studies and most are not saying anything close to what the politician’s are saying. Why are doctors forbidden to prescribe (this is fact as I have multiple doctors in my fam) (or even talk publicly about) the therapeutics that have been shown to be effective combatting COVID via those whose doctors were courageous enough to prescribe to their patients rather than be controlled by the government. WHY? you should all be asking that question. If a fully vaccinate person can contract and spread covid and even die from it, why is it that the government is still pushing this thing, where is it PROVEN to be effective?. If you aren’t asking that question you should be…….

    3. Bill R – I suggest you dig deeper for the truth. No vaccine in history EVER has been proved to keep everyone safe from infections. Zero. That is because many victims have underlying conditions that weaken the natural immune system so much that the vaccine is rendered less effective. But there is ample proof that the vaccines protect at least 95 out of every 100 people that have received the vaccine. Current date also provides the evidence that 95 out of 100 people who have been infected by Covid were unvaccinated. Finally, if you think our country has fallen into some sort of communistic regime, I suggest you don’t really know what communism is. But if those voices inside your head think otherwise, well so be it. Some people are beyond hope.

  3. Reasonable folks, don’t waste your time with the dug-ins – they are misguided and not persuadable. Here is another demonstration of the “logic” on this “survival rate” nonsense:

    In 1947, US population was a little under 144M. About 500 people died annually of lockjaw from tetanus pre-vaccine. COVID’s been here for almost a couple of years, so let’s use 1,000 deaths for a comparative back then. Thus parallel logic math would indicate that the “survival rate” was 99.9993%. Now ask these same people this hypothetical – if their 15 year old child steps on a rusty nail, they proceed to pull their child’s vaccine record and find it’s been 11 years since a tetanus shot – do they hem and haw and listen to their child whine and moan about the preeminence of personal freedoms and argue about a nearly 100% survival rate or do they just hustle that kid down to CVS to get a booster? Now imagine the puncture wound happens with Dad at home and Mom at work and she comes home to find out Dad DIDN’T make the trip to CVS with Johnny while she was gone and then Dad amplifies his poor judgement by insisting he can make a cogent argument for why not.

    With very, very limited justifications (allergic reaction and maybe 2 or 3 religions on the globe) the arguments against vaccination for this disease are excuses masquerading as rationales to justify a “lifestyle brand”.

    1. Tim D. – Yep, all true. Reminds me of another off-the-wall analogy I saw recently. Winter coats don’t prevent hypothermia, hence why wear a winter coat? The insanity of the anti-vaxxers know no limits.

  4. Anyone, including the Governor, who is defending and/or pushing for vaccine mandates without including natural immunity in their reasoning is being intellectually dishonest.

    Numerous large-scale, peer-reviewed studies now show that natural immunity confers broader and more durable protection against SARS-COV-2 reinfection than for the vaxxed who have not had the virus.

    Vaccinations provide a PERSONAL protection against severe illness and death, NOT a public protection. This fact is not disputed.

    Therefore, if you’re worried about COVID, get your vaccination, take whatever other protective measures you deem appropriate, and please leave your fellow Hoosiers alone.

    1. Sorry, but the latest studies on omicron show that “natural” immunity from previous infection is far lower with this variant than earlier variants, so your science (if it was ever true) is already outdated. The emerging data (which could still change, of course) suggests that for omicron, the people protected the most may be those who first had COVID, and then got the vaccine…but those who only had a COVID infection but no vaccine are being reinfected with omicron at very high rates, higher than ever before. So… that fact you cite is no longer applicable, if it ever was. As for your statement that it is “not disputed” that vaccines provide only personal protection, not public protection… you are completely wrong, I’m afraid. That is not a fact at all… no public health expert would agree with what you just wrote. As an example, polio became history because of massive vaccine campaigns that ultimately created public protection along with the personal protection enjoyed by each recipient of the vaccine. THAT is a fact that is not disputed. What is really intellectually dishonest is sharing outdated science, or making claims that are not supported by science at all. Here is a hint… any “fact” shared on Fox News, Facebook, OAN, etc., needs to be taken with many grains of salt.

    2. Steve, like Tim said, these folks are a waste of time. They’re dug in and detached from reality.

      The sad thing is that some of them will die and will only realize their mistake too late. (Witness all the stories of people asking for the vaccine at the hospital.). Dying to own the libs and show those scientists how dumb they are seems like a terrible choice to a lot of sane people, and I wouldn’t wish that fate on my worst enemy, but that’s the route they to take, so ….

    3. People dying every day because lies like yours aren’t deleted is the opposite of hilarious. Nothing you wrote hasn’t been disproven hourly across the Internet.

      Come back when you think enough of your writing to use your first name.

  5. Let the Republicans skip the shot and die – maybe it will turn some purple states blue. Thankfully we who got the shot might get sick because of them, but we won’t die. But the immunocompromised and very young are still at risk. Thanks to nitwits.

  6. Too many nurses and doctors and other members of the healthcare team are simply worn out by all of this unremitting illness. Sadly, most of the people in the hospital and intensive care units chose not to be vaccinated and if someone you love has a medical emergency like a heart attack or a ruptured appendix, they may not get the prompt treatment they need because of the lack of hospital beds and healthcare personnel to care for them as they are all stretched thin. We may see loved ones die that should have survived.

    1. with all due respect, even the fake news is reporting that people fully vaccinated like Colin Powell for example, contract, spread and even die from Covid. The vaccine is serving no purpose in reality other than to PERHAPS minimize systems, best case. So the vax is no vax at all. At best its a therapeutic. I’m not anti vax but lets be honest with what this so called vax really is and set expectations appropriately based on the actual science and the subsequent resulting/real facts.

    2. Even though General Powell was fully-vaccinated, he may not have been developed a good enough immune response due to multiple myeloma.

      The Stampfer et. al study that was published in July 2021 showed that LESS THAN HALF of multiple myeloma patients responded adequately to mRNA vaccines: only 45% of patients developed an adequate response 22% of patients only developed a partial response lower antibody levels were seen with patients with older age, impaired renal function, etc.
      They concluded that “most multiple myeloma patients have impaired responses to mRNA vaccination against COVID-19“.

      Such immunocompromised individuals usually require a booster dose of the vaccine to develop an adequate immune response against COVID-19. Gen. Powell had not yet received the booster shot.

      Those are the facts.

  7. Its staggering to me how these politician’s either are literally this stupid or pretend to be. here is an idea READ THE SCIENCE!! the vaccine is really not a vaccine at all, because a true vaccine would provide sufficient antibodies to thwart viral infection. This so called Vax does not do that. #2 Not only can a fully vaccined and boostered person contract covid, they actually become “super spreaders” so to speak especially for those over 60, due to the state of their immune systems (due to age) and viral load. So to summarize, the vaccine will not keep you from getting COVID and it will not keep you from transmitting it either, and in fact could actually make elderly super spreaders.

    So then where is Holcomb’s point on the actual beneficial value of a vaccine? I’ll wait…….. The best case scenario for a vaccinated person is they MAY not die or have severe symptoms…..but even that is not guaranteed (see Colin Powel and a host of others). These politicians are either 1) completely uninformed with the actual science, 2) stupid, 3) Deceiving us, 4) all the above.

    I am so tired of hearing all these politicians tout this vaccine when they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Then lets talk about the deaths and other things that are happening ……which I will not go into here. I am not anti vax, what I am is anti stupid. Get informed with scientific facts THEN open your mouth.

    1. To some extent for state lawmakers, it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage.

      I am glad Holcomb still has some sanity left.

  8. A woman told the governor she was “disappointed Holcomb had received the COVID-19 vaccine because “I had a chip in me now.” Just one crackpot reason why Indiana ranks in the bottom 25% of states when it comes to vaccination rates. Such people are not part of the solution to snuffing out Covid, they are part of the problem.

  9. Brent B – I am not sure where you are pulling your information or perhaps opinions but your claims of the performance of the vaccine, any one of them, are unfounded. For example, the first 30 or so known cases of Omicron in the US, 50% of them were with fully vaccinated meaning 2 shots. and 50% of those were boosted. So to even suggest that being vaccinated minimizes your risk of getting or transmitting the virus is pure conjecture because these statistics show vulnerability with or without the vaccine. The very first case in the USA was someone who returned from Africa fully vaxed and boosted. So having everyone vaccinated, if the effectiveness of the vaccine is only around 50-60% which is what the pharma companies are now claiming (which is made up because they have no way of actually knowing this stat in reality) is all just coolaide. Again, I’m fully vaxed but if I had to make that decision today I wouldn’t bother given the facts.

    I’ll add one additional fact, nearly 100k more people died under Biden’s presidency (who had the vaccine since the beginning) than under Trump who had no vaccine. Coincidence or is the vaccine actually contributing to the variants and the spread? The facts suggests perhaps so.

    I don’t understand your comment on whatever you said about rattling in my head or some nonsense and not understanding what communism is. Aside from arrogantly judging and insulting because you beleive you have superior intellect, in and of itself suggests quite the opposite. But I put this before you comrade…a few definitions that should help you along:
    Facism – centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. We may not be 100% here yet but we are well on our way.

    Socialism – a Marxist theory: transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done or not done. I’ll bet you got your checks from the gov’t in the mail…..I never got one. This is what this current administration is already doing, wealth distribution encouraging government dependence.

    Communism – a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property. We are not here yet but well on our way. Try not paying your real estate taxes and see who REALLY owns your land. All of this defund the police, purposely trying to take down the economy, pretty much everything Biden is doing is intended to collapse the system so the government can swoop in and save the day and federalize everything including election laws…..so there is a one party system……isn’t that the definition of Communism comrade? If you think the government isn’t tied into Green Energy, killing oil, Vaccines, and other initiatives this administration is pushing, you simply are not paying attention. We aren’t communist but there is much interest in this form of government at the Elites level.

    I’m sure I am not nearly as smart as you pretend to be but if you think this is not where this country is headed, you have your head in the sand. My recommendation to you is to think independently based on verifiable facts and not conjecture and platitudes of disjointed logic or what these corrupt politicians are saying (all of them). Try actually doing some real research and turn CNN off. You sir, sadly personify what Lenin referred to as a “Useful idiot”.