The Biden administration is getting ready to promote another set of Covid vaccines to the American public. While many people seem open to the idea, there is a significant divide between political parties in terms of who is most likely to receive them.
Over 50% of voters indicate they are inclined to pursue the latest vaccine, as the number of Covid cases rises and the U.S. enters its fourth winter dealing with the virus, according to recent polling by POLITICO and Morning Consult.
The 57 percent who will “probably” or “definitely” get vaccinated signals that a sizable share of the population remains open to the vaccines, even as they increasingly become the subject of political attacks and disinformation. Many Republicans, led by presidential frontrunners former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have opposed the Biden administration’s Covid response. On Wednesday, DeSantis’ state surgeon general went as far as discouraging most Floridians from getting the latest booster.
Approximately 80% of Democrats plan to receive the upcoming vaccine, set to be widely accessible by the end of the week. However, only 39% of Republicans anticipate getting the updated shot, exposing the significant partisan divide that has hindered the response to Covid in recent times.
However, both of these figures are significantly higher than the 17% of the total population in the US who received the vaccine last year, according to the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This indicates that there is still potential to persuade those who initially declined but may be willing to receive a booster shot in the coming months.
A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the department intends to utilize all available means to educate individuals about ways to safeguard themselves and their loved ones from serious illness and respiratory viruses.
CDC Director Mandy Cohen shared in an interview that she intends to travel across the country after the vaccine distribution to advocate for the Covid vaccine and flu and RSV vaccinations.
The rate of Covid vaccinations has significantly decreased since 2021, when President Joe Biden made it a priority to have the majority of the population vaccinated within his first 100 days in office. Ultimately, over 80 percent of Americans received their initial dose.
However, a decrease in government funding, overall exhaustion from the pandemic, and increasing opposition to the vaccine among Republican officials and citizens have all contributed to a decline in enthusiasm for each subsequent vaccine distribution.
The current effort to distribute the latest vaccine is facing two new challenges. Instead of the federal government handling distribution, much of the responsibility now falls on the private sector. This may lead to confusion as healthcare workers and patients adjust to the new system. Additionally, the vaccine rollout is taking place during a fiercely contested GOP presidential primary, where candidates have been vocal about their opposition to Covid safety measures.
DeSantis, in his role as governor of Florida, had previously shown doubt towards the effectiveness of vaccines. This week, he organized a roundtable discussion where state surgeon general Joseph Ladapo stated that individuals in good health do not need to be concerned about the virus. He also suggested that it may not be wise for young people or those at low risk to receive the latest vaccine.
Cohen rejected Ladapo’s opinion and stressed the importance of the vaccine being both safe and necessary for protecting individuals.
She stated that any attempts to reduce vaccine acceptance are baseless and potentially harmful.
The survey findings indicate a firm group of Republicans who strongly oppose vaccination, as 44% state they will not receive the shot at all. An additional 17% expressed that they most likely will not pursue it.
However, Independents are divided, as 52% state that they will “probably” or “definitely” not receive the vaccine.
According to a survey conducted by POLITICO and Morning Consult, 53% of parents with children under 18 expressed a likelihood of getting the latest vaccine for their children. This percentage includes 71% of Democratic parents and 42% of Republican parents.
The survey by POLITICO and Morning Consult was carried out on September 9-10, before the Food and Drug Administration approved the shots and the CDC advised all Americans to receive them. The online survey polled 1,967 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.
This report was contributed by Chelsea Cirruzzo.