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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

How to fool anti-vaxxers into getting the coronavirus jab

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Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

News from the frontline of stupidity: Anti-vaxxers in Greece are reportedly refusing to accept blood transfusions from people who have been vaccinated in case they get “poisoned.”

We first heard of this behavior in the U.S. last month, with the American Red Cross saying staff have had to field questions about potentially “tainted” blood (that reminds me, whatever happened to the band Soft Cell?) — and now it’s spread to Europe.

This gives me an idea. If the anti-vaxxers can’t be persuaded by science and good old common sense, perhaps we need to trick them into getting the jab. Maybe exasperated doctors and nurses could just run up to people in the street and stick a needle in them without warning, a tactic regularly employed by Russian secret service agents. Older readers may also remember that B. A. Baracus (played by Mr. T) from the 80s TV show “The A-Team” always refused to fly, so he was given a glass of milk that was clearly laced with a strong and likely illegal tranquilizer, and then bundled onto a plane.

Perhaps health authorities could try something similar.

“Free coffee. Get your free coffee here!”

“Thanks.”

“Ha, got you. It was nine parts Moderna, one part Arabica.”

Speaking of contaminated, Manfred Weber is after another job! The man who wanted to be European Commission president — and the man who achieved the remarkable feat of uniting EU leaders in opposition to him getting anywhere near that job — wants to stay in his current role as head of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament (remember the European Parliament? It used to have meetings and votes and go on holiday to France once a month) while also taking charge of the broader EPP, a role currently held by former European Council President Donald Tusk.

I don’t know about you but “more Manfred Weber” hasn’t yet cracked the top five answers to the question “How does Europe bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic?”

Weber was once the singer and guitarist in a band called The Peanuts who, sadly, weren’t on the bill of the Mighty Hoopla festival in London last weekend. Irish Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was at the event, however, and reportedly took a private jet to get there. Just days earlier, Varadkar had told representatives of Ireland’s live entertainment industry that he “definitely” didn’t think that Britain was “an example to follow” when it came to opening up the sector. Maybe he was just jealous of Michael Gove getting to strut his stuff on a night out!

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“Whatever you do, don’t have the prawns.”

Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).

“Right, Gove was last seen dancing here. Colonel, send in the Eighth Brigade,” by Tom Morgan

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.

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