- More than half of white Republicans said they were unsure or would not take a COVID-19 vaccine.
- They were less inclined to get a COVID-19 vaccine compared to Black and Latinx Americans.
- Still, Black and Latinx Americans are getting fewer vaccines and dying at higher rates.
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Three months into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the US, rates of vaccine acceptance have steadily climbed for Black and Latinx Americans but stayed low among white Republicans, according to recent polling by Civiqs.
Early polls about vaccine attitudes in the US revealed Black Americans were more likely to be vaccine hesitant compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Noting this gap, public health officials initiated national and local vaccine outreach efforts targeting minority groups.
But vaccine acceptance campaigns so far have failed to address who may be the most vaccine hesitant group at this point in the rollout: white Republicans.
Republicans, especially white ones, are less likely to want to get vaccinated
According to Civiqs, 56% of white Republicans said they were either unsure or would not take a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available to them, compared to 31% of Black Americans, 30% of Latinx Americans, and just 7% of white Democrats.
“Vaccines are our only way out of this. If we don’t have 80-plus percent of the population vaccinated before next winter, this virus is going to come back raging,” Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, told NBC News. “What worries me is if 25 percent of Republicans say they won’t get vaccinated, that’s going to be hard to do.”
In fact, some polls have found rates of vaccine refusal among Republicans could exceed 25%. When considering vaccine acceptance based on party lines alone, 41% of Republicans said they don’t plan to get a vaccine if it’s available to them.
There’s a partisan gap in vaccine acceptance
Partisan politics seem to be a far greater driver of vaccine hesitancy than Black Americans’ mistrust of the healthcare system.
Pollsters at Indiana University found that blue states have lower rates of vaccine refusal than red states, and battleground states are generally somewhere in the middle.
More data from a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll published last week showed that 47% of people who supported Trump in 2020 said they wouldn’t choose to be vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he found it “disturbing” that Trump supporters were avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue,” Fauci said in another news appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Axios’ Orion Rummler reported.
Black and Latinx Americans still have gotten fewer vaccines
Despite a shift towards vaccine acceptance in polling, Black and Latinx Americans still have received fewer vaccines than their white counterparts, according to available racial data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled race and ethnicity data for just over half of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among that group, nearly two thirds (66%) were white, 9% were Hispanic, and 7.5% were Black, as of March 14.
Although white Americans constitute a greater proportion of healthcare workers and adults over 65 – groups that have gotten priority in the vaccine rollout – the country’s Black and Latinx populations have been more than two to three times more vulnerable to severe disease and death from the coronavirus overall.
Experts have previously told Insider that increasing outreach and education, improving access to vaccines, and partnering with trusted members of the Black and Latinx communities could increase vaccine uptake.