GOP Sen. Ron Johnson complained about the failed drug hydroxychloroquine not getting FDA approval, and refused to say the COVID-19 vaccine is safe

Jake Lahut
·2 min read
ron johnson covid
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is still espousing blatant falsehoods on the coronavirus.

  • Johnson refused to say the vaccines are safe in an interview with The New York Times.

  • He also blamed the FDA for costing "tens of thousands of lives" by not approving a failed drug.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin doubled down on COVID-19 misinformation in an interview with The New York Times on his growing reputation as a conspiracy theorist.

Johnson has been ratcheting up his conspiratorial rhetoric in recent months, particularly in his attempt at revisionist history over the January 6 Capitol siege. He has made a variety of false claims depicting the riot as peaceful and that he would have been afraid if the insurrectionists were affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Video: What it's like to get the COVID-19 vaccine

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson dipped further into misinformation in The Times interview.

"There's still so much we don't know about all of this," Johnson said when asked about the vaccine, which he refused to describe as safe, according to The Times.

Johnson has previously said he won't take the jab, despite months of scrutiny from regulatory agencies such as the FDA as well as independent studies attesting to the safety of approved vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

-Emilee Fannon (@Emilee_Fannon) March 10, 2021

The Badger State Republican also lashed out at the FDA for not approving a failed coronavirus treatment pushed heavily by former President Donald Trump, telling The Times that the agency's rejection of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, cost "tens of thousands of lives."

Despite claims of miraculous properties by Trump and other prominent Republicans, hydroxychloroquine failed to treat the virus in multiple medical studies.

"We've closed our minds to all of these other potentially useful and cheap therapies all on the holy grail of a vaccine," Johnson said recently on a talk radio show, later adding that he doesn't "have all the information to say, 'Do this,'" according to The Times.

There is a growing body of research that shows vaccinated people are unlikely to transmit COVID-19 or experience asymptomatic infection, as well as tips from experts on how to talk with someone who is skeptical of getting the shot.

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