Despite public health campaigns for COVID vaccines throughout the U.S. — including from at least a few GOP governors — there’s still a divide between the numbers of Democrats and Republicans who are getting vaccinated, and that could lead to additional spikes in cases and deaths.
As Newsweek reported, Dr. Anthony Fauci weighed in following the release of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that revealed only 45% of Republicans have received their first dose. That survey also revealed that 60% of unvaccinated adults believe officials are exaggerating the danger that the delta variant presents to the U.S.
“We do have a countermeasure that’s highly, highly effective,” Fauci said of the vaccines. “And that’s the reason why it’s all the more sad, all the more tragic. Whatever the reason—some of it is ideologic, some of it is fundamentally anti-vaxxer, anti-science—but we just need to put that aside now.”
He added, “We’re dealing with a historic situation with this pandemic and we do have the tools to counter it. So for goodness sake, put aside all of those differences and realize the common enemy is this virus and we do have the tool, a highly effective tool, against this virus.”
The Post, reporting on reaction to its poll, noted that “vaccine hesitancy has been driven by Republicans and as the virus’ new, more contagious delta variant has caused recent upticks in COVID-19 cases in areas with low vaccination rates.” Places like Missouri, for instance.
As a result, Republican governors like Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson are urging their residents to get vaccinated.
“The solution is the vaccinations,” Hutchinson said on CNN’s State of the Union, commenting on the state’s comparatively low vaccination rates. Currently, about 53% of adults in his state have at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with about two-thirds of adults throughout the U.S.
The article noted that the delta variant was now affecting the state’s younger adults who haven’t received the vaccine.
“It is a great concern,” Hutchinson said.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who has been the public face of vaccine incentives in that state, observed in a This Week interview on ABC, “The red states probably have a lot of people that are very, very conservative in their thinking and they think, ‘Well, I don’t have to do that.’ But they’re not thinking right.”
The poll found 86% of Democrats have received at least one shot of a vaccine, compared with 45% of Republicans. While another 7% of Democrats report being likely to get vaccinated, only 4% of Republicans expressed a willingness to do so. While just 6% of Democrats say they aren’t likely to get vaccinated, a whopping 47% of Republicans expressed similar vaccine hesitancy, with 38% of Republicans declaring they will definitely not get vaccinated.
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