The COVID-19 vaccine has become the latest thing to become split along “red” and “blue” party lines, according to a newly released study.
A new report released in The New York Times, which examined survey and vaccine administration data for nearly every US county, found that those willing to receive a vaccination and actual vaccination rates to date were lower in regions that voters sought to re-elect former President Donald Trump.
According to the report, some largely Democratic cities find themselves unable to meet the demand required for the number of vaccines required, while other more rural, and more Republican areas find themselves with excess doses.
The report specifically cites parts of Michigan, where the virus has been spreading out of control and the state is calling for additional vaccines, compared to rural areas in Wyoming, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, which find themselves with more doses than they can administer.
Hailey Bloom, a registered Republican and the public information officer for the health department that covers Natrona County in Wyoming, said that they set up a clinic to give up to 1,500 shots per day, but typically only a few hundred have shown up.
“I just never in a million years ever expected my field of work to become less medical and more political,” she told The Times. “It’s terrifying to think that this may never end. So much hinges on these vaccinations.”
The report found that the relationship between vaccination and politics is clearly reflected by the demographics there.
“Vaccine hesitancy is highest in counties that are rural and have lower income levels and college graduation rates — the same characteristics found in counties that were more likely to have supported Mr. Trump,” the report says.
It adds that in more than 500 counties, at least a quarter of adults may be unwilling to get vaccinated, with the majority of those places located in clusters of Trump supporters.
In the 2020 presidential election, voters in the 10 states where residents are least hesitant to get a vaccine chose President Joe Biden. Trump won nine of the 10 states where residents said they would probably or definitely not get vaccinated.
The rate of full vaccination for older adults in Republican-leaning counties was 5 percent lower than the national average, the Times researchers found, but the rate for younger adults was 18 percent below average
“In wealthier Trump-supporting counties with higher college graduation rates, the vaccination gap is smaller, the analysis found, but the partisan gap holds even after accounting for income, race and age demographics, population density, and a county’s infection and death rate.”
The complete report from the New York Times can be found here.
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