No local, state or federal health officials are going door to door in Mesa County to encourage, much less force, people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, city and county officials say.
That, however, hasn’t stopped U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert from tweeting otherwise, inciting false fears among some area residents that may be happening.
In a tweet posted Wednesday that simultaneously invoked images of communism and fascism, the Silt Republican wrote that U.S. President Joe Biden has sent people here to threaten or force county residents to get vaccinated.
“Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis to Mesa County,” Boebert tweeted on her personal account, @laurenboebert. “The people of my district are more than smart enough to make their own decisions about the experimental vaccine and don’t need coercion by federal agents. Did I wake up in Communist China?”
As her proof, Boebert’s tweet included a CSPAN video clip of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying that “surge response teams” had been or were being sent to various states, including one to Mesa County.
But Mesa County Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said that hasn’t happened.
Instead, he said two people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came to Grand Junction about two weeks ago, long before Biden announced plans to create surge teams or bring the federal government’s marketing campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated “community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door to door.”
In his remarks Tuesday, Biden made it clear that the effort was about providing people with information about the coronavirus, and details on where people can go to get vaccinated.
Kuhr said the two CDC workers came to discuss the county’s response to the large number of infections of the Delta variant of the virus.
He said the two “COVID strike team” members also talked to people at various long-term care facilities in an effort to get a handle on why the variant was spreading so fast here, but they were not going door to door.
“They had very little feedback for us,” he said. “We’re really trying to appeal to people who are on the fence.”
The department offers to bring its mobile vaccination clinic to area businesses, but only if a business owner requests it.
Over the past two days, Boebert has been actively tweeting about the matter.
On her official Twitter account, @RepBoebert, she tweeted:
“Retweet if you want to opt out of Biden’s COVID door-knockers,” and, “So the Biden regime can’t send resources to secure our border, but they can send (Dr. Anthony) Fauci’s army to knock on doors in Mesa County and push the experimental vaccine? The Biden Nanny State is out of control.”
Fauci is the executive director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, and not the CDC, which is the federal agency that is sending surge teams around the nation.
Last week, Boebert drew much criticism for tweeting, “The easiest way to make the Delta variant go away is to turn off CNN. And vote Republican.” She deleted that tweet about an hour after posting it.
At Wednesday’s Grand Junction City Council meeting, several speakers repeated some of the same unsubstantiated claims as Boebert.
“He (Biden) goes on and says we’re going to have the Gestapo coming knocking at your door and making sure you get this vaccine or else,” said Mark Rybeck. “This is communism. This ain’t America. This is China, and we all know that pedo Joe is in bed with China.”
Carol Rathbun added, “We don’t want to see World War II. We don’t want the federal government coming to our door, forcing us to take a vaccine.”
Those comments prompted City Councilor Anna Stout to contact the county health department during that council meeting.
“I asked whether our health department was doing door-to-door vaccines, and the response I got was very clear,” she told them. “It said, ‘No. The president talked about going door to door. We’ll have nothing to do with it. It won’t happen.’”
—Staff writers Sam Klomhaus and Dan West contributed to this story.