Will Trump-country, vaccine-hesitant Republicans block the US from reaching herd immunity?

Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

[U]nlike many at-risk Americans seeking safety and an end to the pandemic, [80-year-old retiree] Margaret refuses to get a coronavirus vaccine. 

“There’s too many unanswered questions,” said Margaret, [who] also said she’s fearful of possible side effects, like the headaches that some people have gotten from the second shot. “I’d just as soon as not go through that,” she said.

Margaret is a Republican — a fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump — and polls have repeatedly found that nearly one-third of Republicans share her staunch resistance to the coronavirus vaccines, although for a variety of reasons.

Some, like Margaret, worry they were developed too quickly. Others argue without evidence that many vaccines are unsafe or will make them sick. Still more echo Trump’s repeated contention that the coronavirus threat is overblown and simply don’t trust the government’s involvement.

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As a result, millions of Republicans could remain unvaccinated, a potential roadblock to efforts to achieve the high levels of immunity needed to stop the virus in the United States — an irony that isn’t lost on Trump officials who worked to end the pandemic.

“It’s a little bit confounding,” said Paul Mango, who helped lead the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative.

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