For several months, it's been clear that a person's political views will heavily influence their decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Polling has shown that those who identify as Democrats are much more likely to seek out a vaccine compared to those who identify as Republicans.
However, a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the political divide in vaccination rates is growing.
Back in April, the organization found that counties that went for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election were slightly outpacing counties that went for Donald Trump when it came to vaccinations. At the time, blue counties had vaccinated about 23% of people, while red counties had vaccinated 21% of people.
However, by July 6, that gap had grown significantly. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that counties that went for Biden have now vaccinated 47% of their population, while countries that went for Trump have only vaccinated 35% of their population.
The increase of the partisan vaccine gap from 2% to nearly 12% means that the U.S. is hurtling toward a reality where swaths of the country will remain at risk for COVID-19, especially as the dangerous delta variant continues to spread.
In an interview with CNN last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that if such disparities continue to grow, under-vaccinated areas could see surges in cases that could overwhelm health resources.
"You're going to have areas where the vaccination rate is high, where there's more than 70% of the population, as we see, with at least one dose. When you compare that to areas where you have, say, 35% of the people vaccinated, you clearly have a high risk of seeing spikes in these selective areas," Fauci said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon.
"The thing that's so frustrating about this, Don, is that this is entirely avoidable, entirely preventable," he added. "If you are vaccinated, you diminish dramatically your risk of getting infected, and even more dramatically your risk of getting seriously ill. If you are not vaccinated, you are at considerable risk."
According to a June poll conducted by CBS News and YouGov, 29% of Republicans surveyed said they did not intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19, compared to 5% of Democrats and 21% of independents.
Though the CDC has said that COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and highly effective, the top reasons for not getting vaccinated, according to the CBS News/YouGov poll, include:
- Concerns that the vaccine had not been tested enough
- Side effects
- Distrust of the government
- Distrust of scientists and drug companies