The Biden administration is mulling options on how to get more Americans vaccinated, including various forms of mandates and door-to-door initiatives. Despite their efforts, the White House fell short of President Joe Biden’s stated goal: Get 70% of the population partially vaccinated by July 4.
Republicans and partisan politics are repeatedly derided and blamed for faltering or stagnant vaccination rates, but polling shows that vaccine skepticism goes far beyond one specific demographic or ideology. Large groups of key Democratic voters, in fact, are resistant to vaccination due to low trust in government or governmental institutions.
‘That’s under consideration right now but if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were,’ President Biden responded to a reporter who asked whether his administration was weighing mandating COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers https://t.co/Fj1GW2IncA pic.twitter.com/p1IHWVz3pm
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 27, 2021
White House COVID-19 Data Director Cyrus Shapar announced Monday the U.S. hit the 70% vaccination milestone, albeit a few weeks late. To try and make up for the shortcomings, the administration announced in July the federal government would launch a new vaccination drive campaign including “literally knocking on doors” to encourage Americans to take the jab. Messaging from media and the White House consistently identifies, more or less directly, “white conservatives” as the holdouts to be targeted.
Milestone Monday just in: Today we hit 70% of adults w/ at least one dose! +468K doses reported administered, incl. 320K newly vaccinated (vs. 257K last Monday). 7-day average of newly vaccinated highest since July 4. Let’s continue working to get more eligible vaccinated! 🇺🇸
— Cyrus Shahpar (@cyrusshahpar46) August 2, 2021
“The vast majority of the least-vaccinated districts are represented by Republicans, often far-right Republicans like [Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor] Greene, is not a surprise,” the Washington Post reported. “There’s a strong correlation between politics and vaccination rates – stronger than any other metric.”
A recent Axios/Ipsos poll conducted among 1,532 adults between May 7 and July 19 found 45% of Republicans were “not at all likely” to get the coronavirus vaccine, while 30% of Republicans were “not very likely.”
While Democrats’ hesitancy rates were 12% and 19% respectively, those that identified as Independent or other had vaccine hesitation rates of 42% and 50% respectively.
It may be easy to blame Republicans and even independents based on the aforementioned data, but the Axios/Ipsos poll found that when broken down among race, Hispanic and black Americans are also hesitant to take the jab. The poll found that 43% of white Americans said they are very or somewhat likely to get the vaccine while 62% are “not very likely” and 68% are “not at all likely.”
All you have to do is read how LA Health Dir. Barbara Ferrer talks about the vaccinated, and you’ll quickly be disabused of the notion that vaccine hesitancy is a problem of red state America. https://t.co/7q2gvB9AUS https://t.co/KhqjqFLDIG
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) July 28, 2021
But only 28% of Hispanic Americans are very or somewhat likely to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, 29% of Hispanics polled are either not very likely or not very likely at all to get the jab. Black Americans were also more likely to be hesitant to take it than they are to actually get it, with only 22% of black Americans polled saying they were very or somewhat likely to be vaccinated compared to 29% experiencing some level of hesitancy.
The hesitancy among these demographics isn’t new, either. (RELATED: Cuomo Calls On Private Businesses To Implement Vaccine Mandates, Ban Unvaccinated Customers)
NBC News reported black Americans were hesitant to take the jab back in December and wanted to wait and see how the vaccine would be distributed and what side effects, if any, it would cause.
So why the hesitancy? Well for starters, the government has experimented on black Americans in the past before.
“It is not paranoia, it is not that Black people don’t ‘get it’ or are simply uneducated and unintelligent about their health,” Dr. Brittani James said, according to NBC News. “The reality is that their worries have been earned and will not be corrected until medicine and public health and the government reckon with the past and what has been done to Black and brown people.”
One example of the government using black Americans for experimental purposes is the Tuskegee Experiment in which scientists studied a group of black men, some who had Syphilis and some who didn’t, in 1932. By 1943, penicillin was being used to treat syphilis, but the participants of the study were not offered treatment. A panel later concluded the study was “ethically unjustified.”
“Everybody knows about Tuskegee. Everybody knows about Henrietta Lacks,” CEO of health communications firm Public Good Projects Joe Smyser said, according to the University of Minnesota.
When it comes to Hispanic Americans, Biden said vaccine hesitancy has to do with deportation fears — incorrectly assuming all Latinos face risk of deportation.
“It’s awful hard to get Latinx vaccinated as well,” Biden said in June. “Why? They’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”
But Heathline also reiterated a similar claim, pointing to fear among the Latino community that immigrant households will have to have information collected.