Jeremy Vine panellist hits out at calls for vaccine incentives

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US radio host, Phil Valentine, 61, is currently on a ventilator in intensive care after he contracted Covid earlier this month. Valentine had previously told listeners of his ‘The Phil Valentine Show’ which airs from Nashville, Tennessee, that the Covid vaccine was only necessary for those with underlying health issues.

He said in a blog post in December: “I am not an anti-vaxxer. I am just using common sense. What are my odds of getting Covid? They are pretty low. What are my odds of dying from Covid if I do get it? Probably way less than one percent.

“If you are not at high risk of dying from Covid then you are probably safer not getting it.”

Piers Morgan has now spoken out about Valentine’s condition saying: “I pray he survives this, and then goes back on his show to tell his listeners to get vaccinated.”

Morgan’s tweet has gone viral with more than 2,500 likes and many others have shared his sentiment. One woman replied: “Tough lesson to learn. Hope he gets well soon.”

Valentine’s brother Mark said in a Facebook post that the radio host regrets his comments about the vaccine.

Mark said: “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.”

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In a separate post on Saturday, Mark said his brother is in a “critical but stable” condition.

He added: “All of his vital signs are great and the ventilator is doing its job. We get more optimistic each day.”

It comes as President Joe Biden has called for states to offer $100 (£71) to the newly vaccinated in the hope the incentive will encourage more people to do so.

Speaking from the White House, Mr Biden said on Thursday that the spread of Covid was being made worse by a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. He added that “people are dying and will die who don’t have to die.”

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