From the Left



The Polls Are In: Vaccine Hesitancy Higher Among White Republicans Than Any Other Group

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

As a form of identity politics, the coronavirus pandemic works in unusual yet painfully familiar ways.

For example, the widely reported divide between Blacks and whites in willingness to be vaccinated appears to pale next to differences between political partisans.

While differences in access to vaccines continue to be a major challenge, the gap appears to be closing between Black and white Americans in their eagerness to get the shot, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

Among those who responded, 73% of African Americans and 70% of white Americans said they either planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine or already had done so.

Only 25% of Black respondents and 28% of white respondents said they did not plan to get the shot. Latino respondents were slightly more reluctant with 37% saying they wouldn’t get the jab, compared with 63% who either had or intended to get it.

As the vaccine becomes more widely available, I hope that gap between people of color and non-Hispanic whites closes as the holdouts realize that they have better odds of staying alive — and helping their friends and relatives to survive — with the shot than without it.


I feel the same about Republican hesitance. Americans of all ages, education levels, genders, races and political parties say they’re more likely than not to get the coronavirus vaccine — except self-declared members of the Grand Old Party.

Vaccine hesitancy is higher among white Republicans than any other demographic group, and it hasn’t been improving much as the vaccination effort continues, according to various polls.

When Gallup, for example, asked respondents whether they would agree to get vaccinated if the vaccine were available to them right now, the partisan gap stood at 40 points (91% for Democrats and 51% for Republicans) in February.

But as much as Republicans tend to underestimate the coronavirus danger, Democrats are more likely to exaggerate the threat, according to a poll by Gallup and Franklin Templeton. That can be just as damaging to the public’s ability to make smart choices about the danger.


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