Conservative Anti–Vaccine Talk Radio Host Marc Bernier Dies of COVID

Marc Bernier, a Florida conservative talk radio host who was a vocal critic of vaccines, has died of COVID-19.

Bernier, 65, died on Saturday evening after a three-week battle with the virus, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

"It's with great sadness that WNDB and Southern Stone Communications announce the passing of Marc Bernier," a WNDB post on Facebook said.

"Marc informed and entertained listeners on WNDB for over 30 years while enjoying a successful 46-year career as a broadcast journalist. He will be missed by many friends, family members, and colleagues."

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Bernier's last tweet, posted on July 30, compared a Florida politician's encouragement of vaccinations to Nazi Germany.

"Think about it, the greatest generation had to defeat the Nazis to preserve our way of life, you're only being asked to get a shot. So be a patriot. Turn off the TV and go get vaccinated," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, said in a video.

Bernier shared the video, adding: "Should say, "Now the US Government is acting like Nazi's. Get the shot!"

Bernier had said he would never get the COVID vaccine on air in December, the News-Journal reported.

Should say, "Now the US Government is acting like Nazi's. Get the shot!"

— Marc Bernier (@MarcBernierShow) July 30, 2021

Mel Stack, an attorney and friend who regularly advertized on Bernier's program, told the newspaper that Bernier's anti-vaccination views were not based on politics, but personal experience with how he thought vaccines had impacted people he knew.

Bernier's death comes as Florida continues to battle a massive surge in coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths driven by the highly contagious Delta variant amid lagging vaccination rates.

Florida is leading the country with the most coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents.

The state recorded 20,968 new cases on Saturday, giving a seven-day average of 22,870. Florida has also reported an average of 247 deaths a day from COVID over the past seven days.

Covid vaccine
A healthcare worker holds a Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at Memorial Healthcare System, in Miramar, Florida on December 14, 2020. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Despite the figures, only 63 percent of Florida's population have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and just 52 percent of Floridians are fully vaccinated, according to a tally by The New York Times.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had given full approval to Pfizer's COVID vaccine, prompting President Joe Biden to call on businesses to require employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.

"The public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. "While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated."