The Biden administration, stung by missing its vaccine targets and the rising COVID-19 cases, has decided to blame Republicans. That’s not surprising. But it’s traditionally Democratic groups – minorities and the young – who aren’t getting vaccinated, and it’s leftists who are the most influential anti-vaxxers on the planet.
As Politico reported recently, “the Biden administration is casting conservative opponents of its COVID-19 vaccine campaign as dangerous and extreme.”
The administration points to state immunization rates as proof that anti-vaxxers on the right are to blame for the problem. “State vaccine rates fall along red, blue divide,” is how The Hill reported it.
But wait a minute. The states with low vaccination rates also tend to have larger minority populations. And blacks are the least likely racial or ethnic group to have been vaccinated, with Hispanics the second least likely, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Alabama and Mississippi, for example, are the states with the lowest vaccination rates in the country. They are also the states that have some of the highest share of blacks – 38% in Mississippi and 27% in Alabama. Louisiana (the fifth least vaccinated state), is 32% black, and in Georgia (sixth lowest vaccination rate) blacks make up 31% of the population.
In fact, six of the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates have larger-than-average black populations.
At the other end of the spectrum, eight of the 10 states with the highest vaccination rates have larger-than-average white populations.
In Vermont, the state with the largest share of vaccinated residents, just 1% of the population is black. In No. 3 vaccine state Maine, 1.4% of the state’s population is black.
Still more evidence that Republicans are not entirely, or even mostly, to blame for low vaccine rates: A recent Monmouth poll found that blacks and other minorities are much less likely to report having gotten a shot. The poll found that 70% of whites say they’ve received at least one dose, but only 59% of those in minority groups. (Among Republicans, the share saying they’ve gotten a shot is 60%, among independents, it’s 59%).
This isn’t because of a lack of availability – as some have speculated. At least some of the disparity is the result of different levels of vaccine “hesitancy.”
The Monmouth poll found, for example, that 26% of whites say they likely will never get a COVID shot or plan to “see how it goes” before getting one. But 37% of the minorities feel this way.
Minorities are also more likely to say that the decrease in COVID cases is the result of the disease running its course (62% say this accounts for most or some of the decline), compared with 50% of whites.
Then there’s this: The “dirty dozen” of anti-COVID vaccine influencers compiled by one research group is made up of people such as: a Nation of Islam member, a regular columnist at the left-wing Huffington Post, the head of the Urban Global Health Alliance, a “holistic psychiatrist,” a former owner of an organic farm, several alternative medicine quacks, and long-time anti-vaxxers including … Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Not exactly a bunch of right-wing Trump supporters. In fact, some in this “dirty dozen” have targeted the black community with anti-vax messages.
You’d think that the race-obsessed left would be focused on dealing with vaccine-hesitant minorities, rather than waste time trying to score political points by attacking Republicans.
There’s another group that isn’t getting vaccinated that also undermines the left’s narrative – young people. While more than 85% of those over 65 have received at least one shot, just 46% of those 18-24 have done so, and just half of those 25-39 have gotten a shot.
Exit polls show that nearly two-thirds of the former group and more than half of the latter voted for Biden in 2020.
There are other reasons for people not lining up to get a shot in the arm that have nothing to do with politics. There’s the fact that even fully vaccinated people are catching COVID, the fact that no vaccine is without risk to certain people, the fact that the Food and Drug Administration still hasn’t formally approved the vaccines being used, the fact that there’s talk of re-imposing mask mandates for fully vaccinated people (which has already happened in Los Angeles), the fact that the federal government and Big Tech are trying to silence voices that aren’t 100% on board with the current COVID mania – all of which has sown apathy and distrust about Biden’s public health diktats.
To be clear, in our view, getting the COVID vaccine is a personal choice – it should never be forced on anyone. Everyone should be encouraged to weigh the risks and benefits, and live with the consequences. That’s how we treat the flu vaccine, and it’s how we should treat the COVID vaccine.
But if the left wants to go around accusing groups for low vaccine rates, it needs to look in the mirror.
Correction: The editorial had misidentified one of the anti-vaxxers as John F. Kennedy Jr., when it is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board