Conservative radio talk show host Phil Valentine, who said people that were not at a high risk were “safer” not getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is now hospitalized in serious condition with the virus.
Valentine, 61, served in Congress from 1983-1995 and is now a popular conservative talk radio host on the Westwood One radio network, reaching 110 stations daily with “The Phil Valentine Show” from WWTN-FM in Nashville, Tenn., according to his biography.
While saying that he was not against vaccinations, Valentine told followers on his blog that he felt his odds of getting the virus were “pretty low,” Business Insider reported Saturday.
"I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I'm just using common sense. What are my odds of getting COVID? They're pretty low. What are my odds of dying from COVID if I do get it? Probably way less than one percent," he wrote in December. "If you have underlying health issues you probably need to get the vaccine. If you're not at high risk of dying from COVID then you're probably safer not getting it. That evokes shrieks of horror from many, but it's true."
According to his family, the radio host is now hospitalized in serious condition, "suffering from COVID pneumonia and the attendant side effects," the family said in a statement, adding, "He is in the hospital in the critical care unit breathing with assistance but is not on a ventilator."
The family also said the host regrets not being more “pro-vaccine,” and regrets statements he has made to the contrary.
"Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an 'anti-vaxxer' he regrets not being more vehemently 'Pro-Vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon," the family said.
Valentine is one of about a third of the country that has not yet been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or its variants that are surging again in some areas of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the agency, 68.7% of the nation has had at least one dose of the three available vaccines, Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose, while the other two are two-dose vaccines, administered about two weeks apart.
According to the agency, Valentine’s home state of Tennessee has seen a 36% increase in the number of new COVID cases per 100,000 of population and an increase of 41% in hospitalizations, as of July 16.
That state is below the national average for both fully vaccinated people (38.3%) and those with at least one dose (43.2%).
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