The conservative radio talk-show host Phil Valentine is hospitalized in serious condition with COVID-19, his family said. A. Martin UW Photography/Getty Images
Phil Valentine, a conservative radio talk-show host, is hospitalized with COVID-19, his family said.
Valentine had said people were “probably safer not getting” the vaccine if they weren’t at high risk.
His family said he now “regrets” not being more “pro-vaccine.”
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A conservative radio talk-show host who had told followers that they were “probably safer not getting” the COVID-19 vaccine if they weren’t at high risk is now hospitalized in serious condition with the coronavirus, his family said.
Phil Valentine, who hosts “The Phil Valentine Show” on WWTN-FM in Nashville, Tennessee, contracted COVID-19 more than a week ago and “has since been hospitalized & is in very serious condition,” his family said in a statement on Thursday.
Valentine, 61, is “suffering from COVID pneumonia and the attendant side effects,” the statement said, adding, “He is in the hospital in the critical care unit breathing with assistance but is NOT on a ventilator.”
Now that he’s become ill with the coronavirus, he has “regrets” about his comments about the vaccines, his family said.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ 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,” the family said.
Read more: Don’t punish the vaccinated – make it harder to choose to be unvaccinated
In a post on his blog on December 17, Valentine gave his views on the COVID-19 vaccines.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m just using common sense. What are my odds of getting COVID? They’re pretty low. What are my odds of dying from COVID if I do get it? Probably way less than one percent,” he wrote.
Valentine continued: “If you have underlying health issues you probably need to get the vaccine. If you’re not at high risk of dying from COVID then you’re probably safer not getting it. That evokes shrieks of horror from many, but it’s true.”
He added, “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.”
Public-health experts have urged people to get vaccinated, saying the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the US are safe and effective at preventing serious illness and the spread of the disease.
Still, swaths of the country remain unvaccinated as misinformation about the vaccines’ safety spreads.
Valentine posted on Facebook on July 11 that he had COVID-19.
“Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it,” he wrote. “Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow, but I may take a day off just as a precaution. It’ll be a game time decision.”
On July 15, he shared doubts about the vaccine while posting a story about cancer-causing chemicals found in Johnson & Johnson sunscreens.
“Ah, but I’m sure their vaccine is perfectly safe,” Valentine wrote. “Don’t worry about it.”
He has not posted since.
Valentine’s family closed their statement by saying, “Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
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