Washington Post op-ed claims staying unvaccinated should be seen as bad as drunk driving

Leana Wen previously made the comparison in August

Washington Post contributing columnist and CNN analyst Leana Wen continued to call for the unvaccinated to be shamed, saying not getting inoculated is as bad as drunk driving.

On Wednesday, Wen, along with Princeton University professor Sam Wang, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled "Remaining unvaccinated in public should be considered as bad as drunken driving." 

Wen, the former head of Planned Parenthood, and Wang admitted that some might "balk" at the comparison, but claimed that the comparison came because both are preventable, are "individual decisions with societal consequences," and can cause "substantial mortality." 

The piece also argued that those remaining unvaccinated should actually be perceived as worse than drunk driving given the raw numbers of fatalities.

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They wrote, "Both can cause substantial mortality, though deaths due to coronavirus far outstrip those due to drunken driving. About 10,000 people die per year in impaired-driving accidents in the United States, less than the number who died from covid-19 last week alone. More than 650,000 Americans have succumbed to the virus thus far, which is more than all recorded intoxication-related fatalities in the last 40 years combined."

While the article falls short of calling for legal consequences against the unvaccinated, Wen and Wang appeared to suggest "the public’s health and safety" should be protected the way it is against drunk drivers.

"Impaired driving differs in one important way from remaining unvaccinated: It carries legal and social penalties. We are not suggesting criminal liability for the unvaccinated. But we are pointing out that civilized society exists in part to protect the public’s health and safety," they wrote.

Wen has previously compared citizens who chose not to get vaccinated to drunk drivers. On Friday, she appeared on "Cuomo Prime Time" to repeat the same analogy.

"Remaining unvaccinated & going out in public is equivalent to driving under the influence. You want to be intoxicated? That’s your choice, but if you want to drive a car, that endangers others. No one should have the ‘choice' to infect others with a potentially deadly disease," she said.

Various Twitter responses also slammed the comparison made at the time.

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Wen has also advocated for vaccination mandates in the past. In July, Wen wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that "Biden needs to get behind proof of vaccination, starting with his own White House events. It matters for everyone, including the vaccinated."