For months, conservative Nashville, Tennessee-based radio host Phil Valentine has repeatedly made posts on multiple social media platforms telling his fans that if they weren’t at risk for Covid-19, they shouldn’t get the vaccine.
That message changed on July 23, when the Valentine family made a public statement on the Facebook page of his talk radio station’s Facebook page.
“Phil contracted the Covid virus a little over a week ago and has since been hospitalized and is in very serious condition, suffering from Covid Pneumonia and the attendant side effects,” the family statement reads, which emphasizes that Valentine has never been an anti-vaxxer. “(Phil) 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.”
It ends by urging listeners to continue praying for Valentine and to “PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
Valentine’s hospitalization came after the talk radio show host repeatedly dismissed the seriousness of the virus and the importance of vaccines in preventing infection.
On December 17, 2020, Valentine wrote on his blog that his odds of getting Covid-19 were “pretty low,” and that the odds of him dying from it were “probably way less than one percent.”
“If I decide not to get vaccinated, I’m not putting anyone else’s life in danger except perhaps people who have made the same decision,” he wrote.
That’s because, he wrote, the vaccine is highly effective so there wasn’t any way he could infect someone who’s been vaccinated if he got Covid-19.
He also argued that he wasn’t an “anti-vaxxer,” he was just a “logical thinker.”
Valentine repeatedly made similar vaccine misinformation posts and shared misleading information about Covid-19 on social media. He even told followers they didn’t need to get the vaccine.
One woman posted that her sister had encouraged her to get vaccinated but her “gut told her not to” because she’d already had the virus.
“Don’t listen to your sister,” Valentine responded. “If you’ve had (Covid-19) you have natural immunity.”
He told another follower that “only those in danger of dying from (Covid-19) should’ve gotten vaccinated.”
Health officials and doctors say people who’ve previously had Covid-19 should still get vaccinated. Late-stage clinical trial data suggests the vaccines are safe and help protect people with past Covid-19 infections from reinfection, regardless of whether they had mild or severe Covid-19 infections.
Three months ago, Valentine even tried to draw comparisons between hospital workers who had to indicate their Covid-19 vaccination status on their work ID badges with Jews forced to wear yellow stars in Nazi Germany. That vaccination status indication on hospital worker IDs is common and is made for other vaccines, including the seasonal flu.
On June 20, he even wrote and performed a parody song called “Vaxman” in which he again used it to push an anti-vaccine agenda.
CNN reached out to Valentine and his radio station but did not receive a response.