Sat. Oct 1st, 2022
A woman in a MAGA hat holds up a sign that reads COVID 19 vaccination equals death.
enlarge A Donald Trump supporter holds a fake anti-vaccination sign as he protests in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

While the Biden administration expects to have enough vaccine doses of COVID-19 to vaccinate all adults by May 1, health experts and policy advisers are trying to figure out how to actually get those shots into people’s arms — especially those who are hesitant or suspicious. against the vaccines, many of whom are Republicans.

For most of the country – about 69 percent – getting vaccinated and being able to return to some normal activities is an easy sell. More than 21 percent of people in America have already received at least one dose of an approved vaccine. There are currently three vaccines approved for use in the US, all of which are highly effective and safe. For the rest of the pro-vaccine folks, it’s only a matter of time before they can get one. In fact, many people across the country are anxious to get in line and search online application websites for an open vaccination slot.

But about 30 percent of adults don’t get in line, according to a March 5 poll by the Pew Research Center. About 15 percent of people said they probably wouldn’t get vaccinated, and another 15 percent said they would. Surely don’t get a shot. That’s enough people to wipe out any hopes of ending the pandemic through vaccination. It’s also enough to ruin the Biden administration’s plans to celebrate our independence from the virus on July 4.

There are a number of reasons why people shy away from opportunity, but many of them are highly correlated with political affiliations. In the Pew poll, for example, Democrats were 27 percentage points more likely than Republicans to say they would or have already received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The same disparity can be seen in other polls. A poll published Feb. 26 by the Kaiser Family Foundation — a nonprofit that focuses on national health issues — found that a whopping 28 percent of Republicans said they would get “absolutely no” COVID-19 vaccine, while only 2 percent of Democrats said so.

To wave

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll published March 12 found the same thing. When asked, “If you are given a vaccine for the coronavirus, will you choose to be vaccinated?” the two groups most likely to answer “no” were Republican men (49 percent said they would say no) and people who supported then-President Donald Trump in 2020 (47 percent said they would decline). Notably, the survey also found little difference between black and white people when it came to rejecting a dose. About 28 percent of whites said they would refuse a shot, while 25 percent of blacks said the same.

In a 20-member focus group of Trump voters held this weekend, GOP pollster Frank Luntz worked to figure out how to break the partisan barrier to vaccination. “These people represent 30 million Americans,” Luntz told The Washington Post. “And without these people, you don’t get herd immunity.”

After the two-hour session, 19 participants (one dropped out) said they were more likely to be vaccinated. What worked to change their minds were clear and honest facts about the vaccines, such as that an overwhelming number of doctors have chosen to be vaccinated and that the long-term effects of COVID-19 could be far worse than the side effects of the vaccine. . The participants also appreciated hearings like that even though the mRNA vaccines were being developed and tested at “warp speed,” the underlying research for the vaccines has been decades in the making. Also, while experts consider the vaccine to be safe, there is no way to know any long-term risks.

“We want to be educated, not indoctrinated,” said one participant.

What definitely didn’t work were politically based calls or calls from politicians. Focus group members were annoyed by a video ad promoting the vaccines, including former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. They also surprisingly said they would not be affected by a call from Trump himself. Luntz speculated to the Post afterwards that “people might move on”.

Trusted Voices

However, one politician seemed to have some influence: former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. The focus group was moved by Christie who talked about his own struggle with COVID-19 (which left him in intensive care for a week) and how he lost two family members to the virus. He stressed that he trusted vaccines based on his experience with COVID-19 and the information he had learned about the vaccines themselves.

Otherwise, Trump supporters said they wanted to hear more from trusted sources in their lives, such as doctors, rather than celebrities or politicians. That’s consistent with what health researchers who have studied vaccine hesitancy have found. And the Biden administration already seems to be aware of this.

In a recent press conference, Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale researcher who advises Biden on health equity, spoke about the government’s efforts to boost vaccination. “We are building relationships with trusted messengers across the country to ensure they have the best possible information to share with their communities,” she said.

According to a report from Stat, the government is spending $1.5 billion on a public relations campaign targeting people who are hesitant or resistant to getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The campaign will reportedly include radio, television and digital advertising and will launch in the coming weeks.

By akfire1

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