Republicans v Democrats: US torn over vaccine take-up as poll exposes political divide

Dr Hilary says anti-vaxxers ‘not thinking of others’

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The poll was conducted by YouGov on behalf of The Economist, and surveyed a “nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between July 10 and 13. The results paint a clear picture of what YouGov called a “new and defining divide” between Americans who have been vaccinated against coronavirus and those who claim they will reject vaccination.

The poll shows that Republicans are far more likely to reject getting the vaccine.

More than a quarter of Republicans – 29 percent – say they will not get vaccinated, while just four percent of Democrats say this.

Vaccine rejection is more common in white people than black or Hispanic Americans, the poll showed.

It’s also more common in the Midwest and South, and among those with less education.

White people with less than a college degree are more than ten points more likely than white people with a college degree to say they will not be vaccinated.

The poll also sheds some light on what the main concerns are among those opposed to getting vaccinated.

Firstly, 90 percent of those who reject vaccination fear possible side effects from the vaccine more than they fear COVID-19 itself.

Three in four vaccine rejectors believe the dangers of COVID-19 were exaggerated for political reasons, with scepticism about the threat of the virus high.

Most in this group – 83 percent – have little or no worry about their risks of contracting Covid, with a majority not worried at all.

Less than one in ten of the vaccine rejectors trust medical advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, and only one in five trusts the Centers for Disease Control.

About half of the vaccine rejectors polled believe that vaccines in general cause autism, and the Covid vaccine, in particular, is being used by the government to microchip the population.

Most Americans reject these theories, but only minorities of those who oppose their vaccinations do.

Nearly one in three say they aren’t sure what to believe.

On the other side, most Americans who are currently vaccinated, or who plan to be, are sceptical of those who refuse to be vaccinated.

Two-thirds of them don’t believe those rejecting the vaccine have any good reasons for their decision.

This poll sheds some light on what is fast becoming a huge problem for US President Joe Biden.

When he took office, his administration made clear it intended to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on getting the country vaccinated.

But now, with the Delta variant now raging and a large chunk of Americans rejecting vaccines, that strategy is under scrutiny.

When Mr Biden, a Democrat, took over from Republican President Donald Trump in January, roughly 400,000 people in the United States had died from COVID-19 and thousands more were dying every day.

Mr Biden’s team pushed a major vaccine rollout and incentive campaign, and in many parts of the United States, it worked.
Millions lined up for shots and, as the vaccination rate increased nationwide, daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths dropped.

But millions more did not, leaving the White House in a state of increasing desperation, with Mr Biden calling the current situation “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”.

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said the federal government would rely at least in part on vaccine mandates from schools and businesses for their students and employees to spur lagging vaccination rates.

He said: “If you can’t get people on their own volition … to do what is important for their own health and for that of the country, then you talk about pressure. And pressure is local mandates.”

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