Many Republican men are hesitant to get COVID vaccine
Steve Mitchell has been polling Republicans in the state of Michigan for more than 30 years and has seen a divide that involves the coronavirus vaccine.
“When you ask, ‘Are you going to get vaccinated?’ And people say, ‘No or not sure,’ 25% of the Democrats say ‘No, or not sure.’ 50% of the Republicans say’ No’ or they’re not sure that they’re going to get vaccinated. That’s a huge difference,” he told CBS News’ David Begnaud.
He said he believes the difference of opinions “exists because of the ideology in the philosophy that Republicans have.”
“If you start off with this fundamental distrust of big government and a dislike of government regulations and now they’re going to inject this into my arm? They’re going to start off not wanting it,” Mitchell said.
One of those people is Chris Howe. He’s a conservative living in Clarkston, Michigan, where he runs his own hardwood flooring business. Howe said he and his family came down with COVID-19 earlier this year and experienced mild symptoms, which makes him question how deadly the virus is and the necessity of a vaccine.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said. “I have gotten it and I have not died.”
To target vaccine-hesitant people like Howe, Michigan’s local health departments are partnering with community leaders, like faith groups.
A recent Marist poll in partnership with NPR and PBS NewsHour found 49% of Republican men said they would not take the vaccine when it’s available to them.
Vaccine hesitation among Republicans, especially Republican men, is something that GOP national party leaders are trying to address, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently asked people to take the vaccine and said, “We need to take this vaccine. These reservations need to be put aside.”
In an interview with Fox News, former President Donald Trump said that he’s taken the vaccine. “It’s a great vaccine. It’s a safe vaccine. It’s something that works” he said.
Howe said he hasn’t heard enough information from sources that he trusts to make him want to get the shot and even though the vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by doctors around the world consistently, he said he’s just not moved by it.
“When I go into stores, I’m civil and I wear a mask and everything like that. The mask is nice, the social distancing. I’ll do that,” Howe said. “What would change my mind and to get this is they come out and say ‘If you get this vaccine, you’re not going to give it to someone else. If you get this vaccine, you’re not going to get it.’ If it comes down to where I think I’m hurting the rest of the populace, then I will get the shot. If I have to travel and go somewhere, then I’ll get the shot.”
“You’re not going to get the shot?” Begnaud asked.
“Probably not. Probably not,” Howe said.