MADISON - U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson suggested this week that vaccinated Americans could be perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic and that distributing vaccines during a pandemic "could be dangerous."
But Johnson also said that he hopes the vaccines play a "key role" in ending the pandemic and that he supports them.
The contradictory comments from Wisconsin's highest-profile Republican come as state health officials prepare to distribute booster vaccine shots to help combat the worst effects of a surge of new COVID-19 cases. The new infections are being fueled by a more transmissible variant of the virus that took hold as vaccine rates stagnated.
In a Tuesday appearance on the John Solomon Reports podcast, Johnson suggested vaccinated Americans could be worsening the pandemic though recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show the unvaccinated are more likely to become infected.
It is the latest example of comments from Johnson on COVID-19 that are contrary to advice from health professionals and scientists. His comments have been criticized by some medical professionals and Democrats as undermining efforts to get the pandemic under control.
"If you walk around asymptomatic with 250 times the viral load, are you the super spreader? Is that what's happening here?" Johnson said, referring to a study on vaccinated Americans that has been misrepresented and used to spread misleading information.