A talk radio host in Tennessee is expressing regrets about his stance on the coronavirus vaccine after falling seriously ill with the virus, his family says.
Two weeks after Phil Valentine’s positive COVID-19 test result, relatives of the Nashville SuperTalk 99.7 WTN host say he’s “fighting for his life.”
He “is in very serious condition,” the broadcaster’s brother, Mark Valentine, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday, revealing his brother is suffering from pneumonia brought on by COVID-19. “He is in the hospital in the critical care unit breathing with assistance but is NOT on a ventilator.”
The 62-year-old, whose syndicated talk show is aired on 30 stations across the U.S., has been outspoken about the vaccine and questioned its necessity among those with the lowest risk of catching COVID-19, including children. In a Facebook post dated June 24, Valentine blasted Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as “public health nuisances” for censoring COVID misinformation and, in a follow up comment, said giving the vaccine to kids was “tantamount to child abuse.”
Valentine confirmed his COVID-19 diagnosis on July 11 and described it as an “interesting experience.” He said he hoped to be back on the air in a day or two, according to his Facebook post, and would only take time off as a precaution.
Since then, his health has continued to decline as he battles the virus, family members told The Tennessean.
“He is positive, and he is scared,” Mark Valentine said, according to the newspaper. “He knows he is very, very sick. ... He has not turned the corner.”
Relatives of the conservative radio host said Phil now regrets his skepticism toward the vaccine and is encouraging everyone to get it.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer,’ “ Mark Valentine wrote, “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.”
As of July 25, 60% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 70% of adults have received at least one dose.