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SD Republicans: Vitamins More Important Than Vaccines in Preventing Coronavirus

How dumb are South Dakotans? When it comes to preventing a pandemic, pretty dumb.

The South Dakota State University School of American and Global Studies surveyed 573 South Dakotans from July 31 through August 14 about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their lives. Among other things, researchers asked South Dakotans to rank the importance of certain actions in bringing the pandemic under control. Respondents ranked washing hands above vaccination and ranked vitamins as equally important as avoiding travel:

David Wiltse, "On Questions of Covid Mitigation Methods, South Dakotans Are Sharply Polarized," SDSU news release, 2021.09.14.
David Wiltse, “On Questions of Covid Mitigation Methods, South Dakotans Are Sharply Polarized,” SDSU news release, 2021.09.14.

These rankings are, of course, wrong. Vaccines and masks are the most effective means of crushing this airborne pandemic. The survey gently refers to this wrongness as “a large gap” between public beliefs and science:

These results uncover a large gap between the beliefs of the public and scientists regarding COVID-19 mitigation. The Center for Disease Control advises that the virus spreads primarily through breathing in air that was exhaled by an infected person. For this reason, the CDC emphasizes the importance of vaccination, wearing a mask, and social distancing over the other efforts. Nevertheless, frequent hand washing is considered by the public to be the most important, perhaps due to being the least intrusive of the other measures and requiring the smallest of change to daily routines [David Wiltse, “On Questions of Covid Mitigation Methods, South Dakotans Are Sharply Polarized,” SDSU news release, 2021.09.14].

The pollsters find that gap between science and stupidity exists largely among Republicans, who actually rank vitamins as more important than vaccines:

Wiltse, 2021.09.14.
Wiltse, 2021.09.14.

The Democratic respondents’ rankings closely match the expert guidance from the CDC, which lists vaccination, masks, social distance, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing hands in that order. The CDC offers numerous recommendations about traveling safely, but overall, the less you travel, the fewer opportunities you have to catch or spread coronavirus. Republicans, meanwhile, appear to be following the misinformation promoted by their Dear Leader’s old PSA claiming falsely that hand-washing “is the very best weapon we have” and the Dear Leader’s refusal to speak clearly and factually about the proven effectiveness of masks and vaccines and staying home.

Vitamins don’t appear anywhere in the CDC guidance. The Mayo Clinic says supplements “are unlikely to affect your immune function or prevent you from getting sick.” No research has established a link between loading up on vitamins and fighting coronavirus.

This survey from SDSU reveals the distressing extent to which South Dakotans, or at least the Republicans among us, are willing to ignore science and plain facts. Such willing stupidity means more South Dakotans are getting sick and dying from a pandemic we could prevent with a dose of good sense.


  1. Porter Lansing 2021-09-14 10:03

    Vitamin supplements are one of the biggest con jobs every devised.

    Study after study shows that you pee and poop them out as fast as you ingest them, with zero absorption.

    Enter the pyramid scam HERBALIFE.

    * Ever been walking and someone comes by smoking a cigarette?
    You can smell them twenty feet before and thirty feet afterward.
    That’s exactly how much Covid germs invade your air space.
    You can’t smell them but they’re going into your nose and lungs from a long ways away.

    PS – Doctors and nurses wear masks because they trap germs from being exhaled and prevent them from being inhaled.
    Don’t be a dumb ass.

  2. Ben Cerwinske 2021-09-14 10:19

    The same people who criticized Michele Obama for trying to get kids to eat healthier….

  3. buckobear 2021-09-14 10:22

    Best response I’ve heard yet to an unvaccinated person: “Funny, you don’t look stupid.”

  4. kurtz 2021-09-14 11:17

    Somebody on twitter: funerals are expensive but the vaccine is free.

  5. Kyle Krause 2021-09-14 11:23

    That is some REALLY poorly reported on survey data. I could not tell just what question was asked and just how people responded. It seems like maybe they asked people to rank a multiple choice list from most to least important, but I really cannot tell. There are also no numbers of any sort on the x-axis of their graphs.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-09-14 11:30

    What did you expect, their savior is Donald Trump?

  7. Loren 2021-09-14 11:45

    Missing from the survey: Clorox, chloroquine, ivermectin, and a UV light stuck up your butt… I mean internal light therapy. Anything to avoid a vaccine. !@#$%^&*!

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-14 12:05

    Kyle, I concur: I’d like more detail on the question and the numbers.

  9. Eve Fisher 2021-09-14 12:42

    Many refuse the vaccine; few refuse hospitalization.

  10. Donald Pay 2021-09-14 13:18

    Yeah, the data could be reported better, but it does show that Republicans don’t know the difference between a respiratory virus and a diarrhea-causing bacterium. Washing hands is great for diseases that are spread by touch. It’s just not the most important way to prevent the spread of covid or other respiratory diseases. There seems to be a big knowledge gap about basic health and science between the parties. It’s not as if Republicans weren’t in the same biology classes the more enlightened of us were. Are they just dumber, weren’t paying attention in school or simply heard bad information from their chosen news sources? My guess is a little of all three.

  11. DaveFN 2021-09-14 14:46

    I don’t know where the idea comes from that “you pee and poop them out as fast as you ingest them, with zero absorption,” concerning vitamins, however much I am in agreement that vitamins are over-marketed to a public that by-and-large doesn’t require them.

    Anyone familiar with the history of vitamin deficiencies such as scurvy and pellagra knows that administration of vitamins can correct and prevent such vitamin deficiencies.

    We rarely see such deficiencies in western countries today owing to relatively better nutrition than in the past.

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that megadoses of vitamins are useful in the treatment or prevention of COVID. To the contrary, vitamin megadoses carry serious consequences, whether the vitamins be water-soluble (B, C) which therefore tend to be excreted in the urine to a greater extent than the fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K).

    On the consequences of vitamin overdosage see the following lay article, for one.

  12. Donald Pay 2021-09-14 15:17

    On the vitamin supplement issue, I stand firmly and forthrightly in the middle.

  13. Porter Lansing 2021-09-14 15:52

    Colorado Gov Polis said on a TV interview, yesterday, “People should “beat the rush”. Providers are offering boosters “to really anybody who asks.”
    “We made it so Coloradans can simply self-report their conditions. … You can simply say, ‘I have a weak immune system,’ and that therefore you need the shot.”

    For every vaccine denier there’re more jabs for those who care for others safety.

    I got a booster appointment, today at the local grocery store pharmacy.

    Nine days out. No charge.

    PS … I actually do have a diminished immune system, from the year I spent in bed with a picc line feeding antibiotics into a central vein, near my heart, to save my life from MRSA (flesh eating disease).

  14. jerry 2021-09-14 16:01

    Wonder what our little wannabe dictator NOem will say about this “The production crew for “Cats” – the musical coming Oct. 9 and 10 – asked if the venue could guarantee that all stagehands were vaccinated, Baltzer said. Shows are also requesting touchless catering and water stations to protect their performers.

    “So we want to give all of our staff an incentive to become vaccinated, not just for staffing, but for their health and ours as well,” Baltzer said. “Because of the requirements for dealing with the public in these positions, it is important that as many as possible be vaccinated.” RCJ 9.14.21

    Looks like private business is demanding they have the freedom to seek proof of vaccine immunization, imagine that.

  15. ArloBlundt 2021-09-14 16:06

    well…I don’t think vitamins are a cure for anything other than a few vitamin deficient diseases which a good diet takes care of but, at my age (over 70) the Doc suggested I take a Pre-Natal multi=vitamin pill, a real horse pill. I’ve done it for two years and, maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I feel well enough that I’m going to continue taking them, Maybe superstitious, but it seems to work.

  16. happy camper 2021-09-14 18:08

    The Guardian does a good job of explaining vaccine hesitancy. Besides the politics they bring up Optimism Bias: our tendency to believe that negative events in the future are less likely to happen to us than the real-world data suggests, and their Office of Statistics gives a good chart (below). The problem is emotionally reaching these people. Your chances of dying go down to .8% from 37% which is better?

    Vaccination status Deaths involving COVID-19 Non-COVID-19 deaths Percent of all deaths
    All deaths regardless of vaccination status 51,281 214,701 19.3
    Unvaccinated 38,964 65,170 37.4
    Deaths within 21 days of first dose 4,388 14,265 23.5
    Deaths 21 days or more after first dose 7,289 66,533 9.9
    Deaths within 21 days of second dose 182 11,470 1.6
    Deaths 21 days or more after second dose 458 57,263 0.8

  17. Porter Lansing 2021-09-14 18:26

    I’ll explain “vaccine hesitancy” from the MAGA brain cell.

    “This effin’ fake sh*t was blown up to get President Trump out of office. I ain’t gonna let Sleepy Joe take credit for saving my life. I’ll effin’ die, first.”

  18. 96Tears 2021-09-14 18:27

    Why don’t we see any members of The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing these days? They died out. The Shakers (other term for them) opposed sexual relations and embraced celibacy in their communal lifestyle. Now they’re gone.

    Similarly, to be a “good Republican” in 2021 means you exchange science and facts for lies and conspiracy rabbit holes. With any luck, they will wipe themselves out without taking too many rational, thinking people down into the sewer with them. The sooner, the better. I’m tired of putting public safety and our economy on hold for the last two years because they’ve chosen destruction and stupidity for a political agenda that stops any long term progress.

  19. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-14 18:45

    like Porter, I don’t need any explanation a vaccine hesitancy. That’s a euphemism for terminal stupids, the posturing of political idiots who put their selfish fantasies over community responsibility, neighbors who can’t be counted on to act like neighbors.

    Be neighbors. Be patriots. Be believers in science and the common good, not conspiracy theories. Get your shots.

  20. O 2021-09-14 21:39

    Mr. Dale: the CDC is a reliable source when it suits your arguments micronutrients but not when it comes to vaccines and masks?

  21. DaveFN 2021-09-14 22:47

    It’s cut and dried from the standpoint of science.

    1) For those with a diagnosed vitamin deficiency, take vitamin supplements you are prescribed.

    2) For those with adequate vitamin intake, megadoses of vitamins (or so-called micronutrients, as may be the case ) above and beyond the adequate are a waste of money and may endanger your health.

    Pure and simple.

  22. buckobear 2021-09-14 23:56

    I guess Mr Dale didn’t read my comment.

  23. David Mcfarland 2021-09-15 07:20

    It is amazing that so many people who identify as Republicans throw scientific evidence out the window because it does not fit with the political stance of the GOP and its leader. I always considered South Dakotans to be smart, well-educated and capable of reaching common sense conclusions when presented hard evidence. Popular response to this issue indicates that is no longer true. What a sad commentary on good salt-of-the-earth people who have allowed themselves to be so misled.

  24. John Dale 2021-09-15 07:25

    Christ beat the Bankers.

    Which is amazing.

    A contract is a contract.

    No blood oaths for me.

    Best of luck .. Christians are good at keeping their cards close to the vest.

    I think you’re beaten.


    Thank God.


    O – my point is that the CDC says true equals false, which is false.

    Two types of people, at this point in the game, with the information available to us, make the arguments you’re making here.

    Idiots and despots.

  25. kurtz 2021-09-15 07:53

    David Ellingson and his Ortonville, Minnesota-area honey-producing family sued the US Environmental Protection Agency for not regulating the neonicotinoids killing their bee colonies. I worked for their operation one summer between semesters at South Dakota State University. It was one on the most fascinating lessons of this life. South Dakota beekeeper Adee Honey Farms also blames neonicotinoids for colony losses.

    When my dad visited us in Spearditch in the 80s and 90s he was able to see how most of the fertile land in Lawrence County was incrementally being covered with concrete and housing for white people. He wept as shelter belts were being cleared for center-pivot irrigation and fossil water was being pumped from fragile aquifers for the industrial agriculture now killing his once-beloved Brookings County.

    Today, every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in South Dakota is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFAS, E. coli, Shigella, Legionella and other toxins. That’s probably true everywhere in the United States. Recall that country of Origin Labeling was repealed in 2015 to shield American meat from scrutiny.

    Now, welfare ranchers in LawCo are whining that Game, Fish and Plunder won’t release more licenses to kill native elk to make way for contaminated domestic livestock.

    Republican leadership is an oxymoron. Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) is a one woman death panel and the Koch soaked South Dakota Legislature will ignore all pleas to keep the human population safe from an immunization even less experimental than the polio vaccine was.

  26. Allen Jeris 2021-09-15 16:40

    When you have places such as the CDC and FDA advising against safe, cheap and effective therapeutics, it makes you question their partisan motives. There is emerging evidence of Antibody dependent enhancement from the vaccine allowing viral escape. Yeah, you get quantity antibodies but not quality.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-16 09:06

    No such thing is happening, Allen. The CDC in the FDA are recommending the most useful treatments and preventative measures for coronavirus. As I note above, there’s no evidence that vitamin supplements have any effect on preventing or easing the effects of coronavirus. If you have evidence to the contrary feel free to offer it. But I remain amazed and puzzled as to why people are working so hard to come up with alternative hypothesis and conspiracy theories instead of just excepting the plain science in front of us all.

    Why are people exerting so much energy to undermine the authority of scientists and experts instead of applying that same energy to following the science and beating this pandemic?

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-16 09:12

    At no point in this article do I deny the value of vitamins and an overall balanced diet for general health. But lots of healthy people who eat well and exercise I’ve gotten coronavirus. Vitamins don’t prevent coronavirus. Vaccines and masks do prevent the spread of coronavirus. Vaccines and masks are vitally important for controlling this pandemic. There is zero evidence getting everyone to take vitamin C pills will have any affect on the spread or severity of coronavirus.

    I would like to believe that I could beat coronavirus just by doing the things I normally do and not making any changes or sacrifices in my lifestyle. But that is wishful and dangerous thinking.

  29. Porter Lansing 2021-09-16 11:04

    To Allen Jeris, John Dale and every other kook looking for ways to justify not getting a Covid vaccine –

    ” Every now and then, I’ll smoke hookah or share a cigar with someone I love to indulge my nostalgia and connect with them on what feels like a more personal level. To me, it’s a form of communion to smoke with the people you love. It can be a way to come together for a lot of people, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. ” – Epiphanie Couture

  30. Allen Jeris 2021-09-16 13:41

    Porter-I already have my set of shots so thanks.

    There are multiple ways to combat this virus. Actually do your own literature review and not only use the first thing you find. You can find mixed data on a lot of things.
    There are a lot of research studies out there….

    Vitamin D Level Analysis and Correlation with Inflammatory Markers in Asymptomatic and Critically Ill COVID‑19 Patients

    Vitamin D High-dose for COVID-19, Random, Placebo-controlled Study

    Does vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of COVID-19? Clin Med (Lond). 2020 Jul; 20(4): e107–e108.
    doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2020-0301

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