Republican politicians are coming under increasing pressure to intervene in the face of the health crisis and persuade skeptics of the COVID-19 vaccine to roll up their sleeves and receive it, as a new and more contagious variant causes a strong increased incidence. However, after months of turning their backs on inoculations – or in some cases promoting misinformation about the virus – experts warn that it may be too late to try to convince the reluctant.
Miami World – AP
In recent press conferences and communiqués, some influential Republicans have implored their constituencies to put their doubts aside. In Washington, the so-called Medical Bloc carried out an act against the reluctance to get vaccinated. In Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis displayed data that most recently hospitalized COVID-19 patients had not been vaccinated.
“These vaccines save lives,” said DeSantis, who until recently promoted campaign merchandise with captions poking fun at masks and experts.
Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster who collaborates with the Joe Biden administration and public health experts in crafting a message capable of convincing the reluctant, argues that Republican leaders “have just realized that if their people don’t vaccine is going to get sick and if your people don’t get vaccinated, they will blame them for future COVID outbreaks.
But Luntz, who moderated a discussion Wednesday among people who refuse to get vaccinated, said there has been a shift in recent weeks as skepticism has turned into outright rejection.
Hesitation has turned into opposition. Additionally, once one objects, it becomes very difficult to change that position. Additionally, it is what is happening now, ”he said.
COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the United States in the past two weeks due to the proliferation of the new delta variant, especially in regions of the country where vaccination rates are low. Public health authorities believe the variant is twice as contagious as the original version, but the vaccines appear to protect most people from becoming seriously ill.
Almost all COVID-19 deaths in the United States are in unvaccinated people. However, only 56.2% of residents have received even one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Just 51% of Republicans overall said in mid-June that they had received at least one dose, compared with 83% of Democrats, according to an AP-NORC poll. 53% of Republicans said they would definitely not get vaccinated; only 12% said they planned to do so.
Most Americans who have not been vaccinated say they hardly will and doubt that the vaccine will protect them from the aggressive delta variant, despite all the evidence that it will, according to the AP-NORC survey. .
35% of unvaccinated adults say they probably won’t be inoculated, and 45% say they likely won’t. Just 3% say they will definitely get vaccinated and 16% say they probably will.
The proportion of Republicans who say they have not been vaccinated and definitely or probably will not is much higher than that of Democrats: 43% to 10%. There are also differences according to age and educational level. 37% of those under 45 say they have not been vaccinated and probably will not, compared to 16% of people older than that age. And 30% of people without a college degree will not get vaccinated, compared to 18% of those who do.
The AP-NORC poll was conducted before several Republicans and right-wing cable news personalities urged people to get vaccinated after weeks of encouraging reluctance.