Biden Must Find a Way to End Vaccine Hesitancy
The country anxiously awaits a return to normal. Medical professionals and epidemiologists agree vaccines are the pathway to reopening and resuming normal life. But many Americans say they will not get the vaccine when it’s available to them. Biden must find a way to end vaccine hesitancy.
For Biden’s first term to be successful, it is imperative that as many Americans as possible are vaccinated. This will allow businesses and schools to reopen and it will strengthen the economy. But to achieve the highest rate of vaccination, Biden needs to reduce vaccine hesitancy among GOP men and Latinos.
Vaccine hesitancy is strong among GOP men
According to a recent March NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, Republican men claim to be far less likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine than the nationwide average. While 30% of all adults in the country say they won’t get the vaccine, a whopping 49% of Republican men say they won’t get it.
This presents a problem for Biden. In order to get this constituency vaccinated, he will need to reach across the aisle to far-right GOP leaders. These leaders may not cooperate, as it doesn’t benefit them politically to align with Biden. However, noting the dangers to their constituents and local economies should the pandemic continue may encourage their partnership.
Latinos are less likely than whites and blacks to get vaccinated
The same survey revealed that Latinos are also hesitant to get the vaccine. Thirty-seven percent of Latinos said they would not get vaccinated, versus 25% of black respondents and 28% of white respondents. Latinos will likely prove just as hard for Biden to win over as GOP men.
Biden did not do well with this constituency in the election. And this population may not only be hesitant to get vaccinated because of political trust issues, but also because of health care system inequities and access issues. Plus, for many Latinos who immigrated illegally, deportation fears come into play.
Overcoming vaccine hesitancy will not be easy. But for Biden’s first term to be successful, it is essential that he tries every avenue to reach hesitant populations with reassurances, incentives, and science.