Letter: COVID-19 vaccine resistance explained

Graphic by Lori Deaton

For Mountain Xpress readers confused by the whys of vaccine hesitancy, may one highlight the reality of “pushback?”

Vaccine advocates are stuck with a large percentage of independent thinkers weary of the heavy hand of untrusted leadership, conflicting abuses of the scientific model and a rather remarkable reliance on mockery, anger and threats as ill-advised compliance motivators.

One finds neither compassion, confidence nor a call to action in any of the above.

To our collective peril, America’s left-minded relentlessly confuse enabling with love, vanity with conviction, authoritarianism with leadership, and spending other people’s money with progress.

COVID-19 vaccine resistance is just one piece of a broader pushback movement by the majority of Americans who value conservative prudence over liberal pretense.

Diversity of thought will remain a hinderance — in Asheville and everywhere else — for those who self-righteously confuse legitimate public safety concerns with political control issues.

— Carl Mumpower


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55 thoughts on “Letter: COVID-19 vaccine resistance explained

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    Yes, great words from the wordmaster Dr. Carl Mumpower…

    He knows how democrats DESTROY !!! You should too !!!

    • EffBrandon

      At first I just went with my gut that the aggressive insistence for every breathing soul to take these ineffective shots was odd, and refused them.
      Now it IS to spite liberals, the “Branch Covidians” of the world. There really is that much disdain. Sad isn’t it!

  2. KW

    Do not make the mistake of thinking you speak for—or in any way represent—the majority. You would be sorely misguided in believing so. Many of us do believe in evidence and science. Doing so does not inherently make one liberal nor does it make you conservative. Science and medicine should never have been politicized. I’ll thank you to stay out of “self-righteously” judging those of us who understand the complexities of those issues without confusing and intertwining them.

    • Carl Mumpower

      Hi KW – regrettably, your comments further demonstrate the core concerns that motivated the letter.

      • KW

        If you don’t want to get the shot, don’t get the shot. Cut off your nose to spite your face. Why are the rest of us trying to force idiots to be anything else? Jesus, I hope Darwinism kicks in soon and this pandemic will finally come to an end so this argument will also come to an end….

        • Lesko Brandon

          The “science” from Israel and England shows people who are “fully vaccinated” are more likely to get covid than those who are smart enough to not get an untested, experimental shot. (NOT a vaccine!)

  3. Michael Hopping

    What could be more prudent than risking your life and those of others to stand tall against overwhelming experimental and statistical evidence supporting vaccination? I hadn’t thought Carl could surprise me anymore, but his argument here is nothing less than a rejection of empirical fact in favor of tribal belief. Western civilizations fought long and hard to elevate evidentiary facts above such stuff when deciding public policy. That agreement enabled science and technological societies as we know them. Without it, we’re back to reliance on the received wisdom/orders of strongmen or church authorities. The Taliban are a fine example of where that leads. Belief Trumps? Let us pray that it does not.

  4. Robert

    All right, Carl, whatevs. But I better not see your mug in Trader Joe’s without a mask….insert smiley or frowny (or punchy) face.

  5. NFB

    I remember when Mumpower was on City Council and he was very fond of lecturing both his constituents and colleges (both during council meetings and in he constant letters and columns in the Asheville Citizen-Times) abut the importance of “the common good.” It has been a long time since that phrase has been mentioned by him in any of his many letters and columns in either the ACT or here at MX, because that term is now held in such contempt by the tea party reactionaries whose approval he so craves, but getting vaccinated against COVID is a prime example of honoring the common good in today’s world.

  6. Carl Mumpower

    With remarkable consistency, those with a view that diverges from the left’s echo chamber can always count on internet warriors to illustrate the point. Thank you.

    • Peter Robbins

      Your letter illustrates its own point, Doc. While trying to be sympathetic, you enable social deviancy (vaccine refusal) with remarkably consistent pretension. The poor darlings are just acting out because they feel dissed? Their inner child is threatened? My heart bleeds. If salt-of-the-earth conservatives are mad at liberals for making fun of their prudent values, they should kick a wastebasket or something — and then go get the shots.

      By the way, I hate to disappoint, but most Americans are not resisting the vaccine. A majority of those eligible are fully vaccinated already. So your math, along with some other things, is a little off. https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-tracker

    • C-Law


      This post wins the thread hands-down! :)

      What I wouldn’t give to host Carl Mumpower and Karl Denninger on my back porch and uncork a very nice Macallan 18 I’ve been holding back.

      That would be a fine interview I assure you. Ha!

    • Michael Hopping

      “You’re proving my point” can be a very effective putdown. I’ve used it myself in MountainXpress for at least fifteen years. But the thing is, there has to be a tight connection between offending comment and disdainful riposte. Here we have an attempted bunt at the bass pond. Way too avant garde for my poor brain to comprehend, but I do hope Carl brought a pair of dry shoes.

  7. bsummers

    Never forget why we’re in this mess – both the extended pandemic, and the cultural divide. The Former Guy told his followers that COVID was a hoax designed to hurt him politically. He told them not to trust the experts, not to trust the science. He helped spawn conspiracy theories and whackadoodle treatment ideas that continue to get people killed unnecessarily. He undermined the idea of wearing masks, and other steps that should have been embraced early on. All for his perceived political fortunes.

    Now, even Trump is publicly advising people to get vaccinated, and his own followers boo him. Every week there’s another anti-vaxxer begging people to get the shot from their ICU bed. Last week a man murdered his own brother and his wife because he was a pharmacist and was giving people the vaccine. This is the craziness inspired by polarizing political rhetoric.

    Please drop the partisan political drapery around a public health emergency, Carl. You’re making things worse.

    • Carl Mumpower

      The drapery is called malice and obfuscation Barry. Regrettably, our culture is addicted to both models of communication and suffers accordingly. You and your peers above demonstrate no effort toward a higher mission.

      • Voirdire

        Mr. Mumpower… or is that Professor Mumpower… or perhaps the Righteous Reverend Mumpower, lol …..Anyhoo, you are so VERY on target here. I agree complete.y and whole heartedly… let’s do drop the pretense…. please, please…. you and yours…. DO NOT comply…. DO NOT get the dire Covid vaccine under ANY circumstance. And thanks in advance…. ;)

      • bsummers

        OK Carl, I’m re-reading your comment in hopes of finding some explanation OTHER THAN you just admitted to committing malice and obfuscation around this issue. Is it your message that those on the “left” are maliciously obfuscating, and so you doing so is justified?

        OR – You’re a professional, right Carl? Tell us about Freud and the proverbial slip.

    • Lesko Brandon

      You mean the treatments NOW being accepted by the medical establishments that don’t believe Fauxci that are having positive results? You might check Sweden or India, for example. You might look at the 47 studies world wide that show masks have no effect / detrimental effects.

  8. Peter Robbins

    My mission, Dr. Mumpower, is to encourage folks to get vaccinated and stop inventing excuses not to. What’s yours?

    And, just to avoid obfuscation, let me add one more question: Have you gotten vaccinated?

  9. HA

    Truth is truth. Facts are facts.

    There is only one reason to get vaccinated – to protect yourself and those around you from a potentially deadly disease, as imperfect as that protection may be. There are thousands of reasons to not get vaccinated. With very few exceptions, take every one of those thousand reasons and state its exact opposite. Now you are closer to the facts and to the truth.

    Sadly we live in a widely expanding post-truth society in which ideology trumps reality (pun intended).

  10. NFB

    Just curious. What are those who refuse to get vaccinated doing to protect themselves and others from a potentially fatal and long term debilitating disease?

    I ask, in part, because what I see going on is anti-vaccine people heckling people (including children) at school board meetings when they speak out in favor of mask wearing, calling people who exercise the “freedom” the anti-vaccine people claim to love by choosing to protect themselves and others “sheeple,” and a host of other things (in some cases even shutting down vaccine sites.) So what are they doing to protect themselves and other, and I KNOW that they want to protect others because so many of them identify themselves as “pro-life.”

      • Feel the Burn

        Over a half million babies aborted last year in the US alone and conservatives are a death cult?

        • voirdire

          …..no, they’re just a dumb ass cult. Don’t get vaccinated for the Covid…. please.

          • Feel the Burn

            Minorities make up the highest percentage of unvaccinated in the US and you just called them all dumb asses…..Kinda racist don’t you think?

          • Peter Robbins

            You make a useful point, Bernie, but not the one you were trying for. It’s true that higher percentages of the Black and Hispanic populations are unvaccinated (although a majority of the unvaccinated still are White). But that circumstance undermines the unsupported “pushback” hypothesis of Dr. Mumpower — that the remaining resistance stems from some vague set of conservative resentments against liberal powers that be. People have many reasons for not getting vaccinated, such as ignorance, inertia, depression, fear of needles, etc. Mumpower can’t just pluck one possible explanation from the partisan ether and declare, by his personal fiat, that it must be the best one (although it’s amusing to watch him try).

            As for the racial gap, it’s rapidly closing — and not because of any political concerns. “The increasing equity in vaccination rates likely reflects a combination of efforts focused on increasing vaccination rates among people of color through outreach and education and reducing access and logistical barriers to vaccination, increased interest in getting the vaccine due to spread of the Delta variant, and increases in vaccinations among younger adults and adolescents who include higher shares of people of color compared to other adults. Despite this progress, the ongoing disparities in rates highlight the importance of continued efforts to increase vaccination rates and to address gaps in vaccination both geographically and across racial/ethnic groups.” https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-by-race-ethnicity/.

            One wishes that more conservative commentators would devote their talents to that effort. Their participation would be most welcome.

        • NFB

          So are you as concerned at the 700,000 people who have died from COVID?

          Look. I’m not as unsympathetic as you might think to the the concerns you expressed in your comment, but you have just further indicated that “pro-life” is a marketing term because so many of the anti-abortion advocates aren’t “pro-life” they are just anti-abortion. You would do your cause a lot more good if you showed as much concern for the vulnerable born and you do the unborn. Otherwise you just demonstrate that you believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth.

          COVID poses risks to unborn babies. Help protect them by getting the vaccine.

          • Lesko Brandon

            Since when did leftists have any concern for “unborn babies”, wasn’t that a “woman’s choice”?

        • HA

          No. The aborted fetuses were not babies. They were unborn. You and I are alive and are therefore undead. Just not dead yet.

    • C-Law

      Already had it and recovered.

      Provable durable and lasting immunity. Got the IgG and IgM numbers to back it up. Human evolution wins again. Don’t mess with nature. Thought you tree-huggers would at least be philosophically consistent with that principle. Oh well…the hypocrisy of the left IS its defining principle.

      Anyhow, read the results of the Cleveland Clinic employee study…ZERO covid reinfections. ZERO.

  11. Carl Mumpower

    One continues to note the humanity, concern, and depth of thought in the responses above. No reciprocal malice, but some of you good folks seem to confuse immaturity for cleverness. Please continue as your conscience dictates, but with your permission I’ll leave you to the original letter for my take on this issue.

    • Peter Robbins

      Well, don’t leave before telling us whether you yourself have been vaccinated. That’s information critical to evaluating the quality of your “take.” If you have been vaccinated, the story of how you decided to forge ahead would provide an inspiring example for lesser mortals who as yet have been unable to overcome the “pushback” barriers that society (according to you) has placed in their path. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, at least you will be immunized, so to speak, against the suspicion of hypocrisy that seems to lurk between the lines in some comments. No malice intended, just trying to help.

      • voirdire

        of course Mumpower is vaccinated… as per his man Trump. They’re hypocrites to the core …and cowards as well. This is how they work. This is how it always works. Sigh.

      • Peter Robbins

        I’m usually hesitant to toss around accusations of hypocrisy casually, if only because it’s such a common failing as to be more of a universal character trait than a sin. Even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had their lapses.

        In this case, it would not be out of line for a person to himself be vaccinated (because it’s the sane and responsible thing to do) but then inquire sympathetically into the reasons why less sophisticated people might chose the reckless and irresponsible path. That’s what psychologists do for a living, after all. But in the setting of a deadly pandemic, one would have to take particular care not to become so radically relativistic and non-judgmental as to unintentionally enable the miscreants (by planting the idea that their potentially destructive behavior is justified). That line may have been crossed here.

        There is little in Dr. Mumpower’s terse and disorganized Xpress letter that suggests either a serious effort to understand motives or to offer legitimate reasons for vaccine resistence. He certainly does not challenge the wisdom of getting vaccinated. That would be a pretty bold move for an amateur with no qualifications (that I know of) in immunology. Rather, he seems more interested in playing the rabble-rouser, giving vaccine resisters a misplaced sense of self-righteous indignation and stoking dissatisfaction with authority figures generally. Sort of like a Sixties activist, except in a bad cause. That inference is further supported by his posting of the letter on his Facebook page under an all caps heading that asked readers if they were tired of “COVID BULLIES” and inviting them to peruse the Xpress comments section for confirmation of his thesis.

        It’s hard to put a favorable spin on these circumstances, I agree. They’re just sad, really. But Dr. Mumpower is here, and he’s welcome to clear up any misunderstandings if he chooses. Or he can call us bullies again, snort in patrician disgust, and walk away. A purely emotional response can be therapeutic, too. (See my first comment on this thread.)

        • Novaxccxxx

          Don’t care about you or yours . Only me and mine. Owe you nothing. No vax.

  12. voirdire

    no, I don’t think so entitled and whitey… got that? (….Trumpers do make up the highest percentage of dumb asses though I’m pretty sure…. last time I checked anyway ;)

    • Feel the Burn

      Have you ever been in a restaurant, bar, or grocery store and the locals look at you like you have something growing out of your forehead? That’s because you are a idiot. I’m pleading with you with tears in my eyes, go to the nearest gas station and fill up because fuel is still cheaper in the south even under the “you go Brandon” administration. Get on I-81, 77, or 95 and head back north where you came from and don’t stop until you are north of Virginia. Even if you have to pee, don’t stop, use a bottle. Please stop before you get into New Hampshire. I spent some time up there and I can promise you that they don’t want you either. Thank you in advance and enjoy your ride.

  13. Peter Robbins

    Before the conversation descends any farther into the weeds, it might be helpful to take a closer look at the reasons the minority who still have not gotten vaccinated actually give for their irresponsible inaction.

    “Unvaccinated adults cite a variety of reasons why they have not gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, with half citing worries about side effects and the newness of the vaccine as major reasons (53% each). Other major reasons include just not wanting to get the vaccine (43%), not trusting the government (38%), thinking they do not need the vaccine (38%), not believing the COVID-19 vaccines are safe (37%), and not trusting vaccines in general (26%). Fewer cite as major reasons that they have a medical reason for not getting vaccinated (14%), they are too busy or have not had the time to get it (12%), they don’t like getting shots (12%), they are worried about missing work (7%), they would have difficulty traveling to a vaccination site (6%), they are worried about having to pay (5%), or they are not sure how or where to get the vaccine (5%).

    When unvaccinated adults are asked to choose the main reason they have not yet gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, one in five cite the newness of the vaccine, followed by 11% each who say the main reason is that they are worried about side effects, they don’t trust the government, they don’t think they need the vaccine, and they just don’t want to get the vaccine.” https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/poll-finding/kff-covid-19-vaccine-monitor-june-2021/

    As you can see, distrust of government ranks fairly low on the list. Distrust of progressives isn’t even a blip on the radar. Dr. Mumpower’s whole “pushback” argument therefore is based on an incorrect assumption. Which often happens when people rely on something other than reliable evidence for their oh-so-valuable contrarian opinions.

    • Lesko Brandon

      How about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (a government reporting system, in case you don’t know) showing more adverse reactions than EVERY vaccine in the last 20 years combined…

  14. Lou

    Oh Carl. You forever continue to believe that your long-winded, pretentious missives are wise and witty and wonderful. You could save much time by simply utilizing your unmasked mug to mutter the four simple words by which your cult lives and breathes: “Make aMurica Great Agin”.
    I fear many of your less than educated constituents likely cannot even read a single word of your pretty prose. Maybe try a hobby?? You write a considerable number of letters to this paper. Shouldn’t you have graduated to novels by now?

  15. Andrew Celwyn

    There was a call to action for people to take the Trump vaccine(s) long before so-called conservatives like Mr. Mumpower decided to politicize it and disregard scientific consensus from around the world. Most other countries don’t struggle with this the way the US does. Blaming the left for the ignorance on the right (and to be fair, some anti-vaxxers on the left as well) is a weak excuse that is literally costing thousands of people their lives. Stop excusing “pushback” that is literally killing people.

  16. Peter Robbins

    So, Dr. Mumpower, which is it? Should people get the Trump vaccine because its safe, effective, and saves lives? Or should they cave in to their inner child and refuse the vaccine because you’re not the boss of me, you don’t really love me anyway, and you can’t make me, you can’t make me, you can’t make me? It’s a softball question, isn’t it? Even for those of us who aren’t psychologists. But here’s a hint: think in terms of the difference between prudence and pretense.

  17. Feel the Burn

    Why don’t you pro vacciners “follow the science”? With just a little research, you will find the Wu Flu vaccine does not meet the standard definition of a vaccine. If you really want to “follow the science”, there are now 15 studies including John Hopkins showing natural immunity far exceeds the so called vaccine.

  18. Peter Robbins

    Your last comment, Bernie boy, illustrates why people say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Are the covid vaccines really vaccines? A little internet research says yes. “mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, work differently than other types of vaccines, but they still trigger an immune response inside your body. This type of vaccine is new, but research and development on it has been under way for decades.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html. The relevant questions are: do they work and are they safe?

    Does natural immunity alone (resulting from infection and survival) create stronger protection than vaccination alone? Studies have produced mixed answers. Some suggest no. See https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0806-vaccination-protection.html and https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/covid-19-studies-natural-immunity-versus-vaccination. Some suggest yes. See https://www.science.org/content/article/having-sars-cov-2-once-confers-much-greater-immunity-vaccine-vaccination-remains-vital. A lot depends on the health, age, etc. of the subjects.

    But so what? There is no disagreement amongst the experts (that I know of) on the two relevant points: 1) Those who have never had covid should get vaccinated because waiting to get infected and hoping that you’ll survive relatively undamaged is insane. 2) Those who have had covid and survived should get vaccinated because vaccination plus natural immunity unarguably provides stronger protection than natural immunity alone. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/health/if-youve-had-covid-do-you-need-the-vaccine.html.

    Bottom line? Get the shots. For yourself and, more importantly, for all the people with whom you come into contact who didn’t volunteer to take the crazy risks that you seem to relish. Where did you get your medical degree anyway?

    • Feel the Burn

      You know Peter, I regret the comments I made below. I’ve read a number of your previous posts and from what I remember you argue your point while not slandering or calling people names and I appreciate that. We both have a different worldview on the current issues and I think that is healthy. I’m probably more of a constitutionalist/libertarian worldview person and it would be pretty boring if we all thought the same. I think we could probably drink a cold craft beer together and debate the world’s problems without one of us carrying a butt whooping.

  19. Feel the Burn

    Well Pete ole buddy, if you really believe what info comes from the CDC, maybe your not as smart as you lead people to believe. Do you have a medical degree? Boy? I may be gender fluid and that could be misconstrued as bigoted.

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