Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Unvaccinated Is The New Black

POLITICO |  Americans are almost evenly divided over whether schools or most private employers should require Covid-19 vaccinations as part of reopening, according to a POLITICO-Harvard survey that shows how politically fraught any kind of mandate would be.

Most Democrats support forcing employees and students to be vaccinated before they return to work or the classroom, and approve of government-issued documents certifying their status. Republicans oppose the government or most employers infringing on their individual choice.

The survey lands as Biden administration officials, desperate to turn around the country’s rapidly declining vaccination rates, are barnstorming the country pleading with people to take the shot. But even as the more transmissible Delta variant is raising alarms, the administration has resisted a more aggressive approach, reiterating this week that it has no plans to ask schools, states or employers to require the vaccine.

The survey results suggest Biden’s prudence is warranted, said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who designed the poll.

“An important takeaway from the poll is that in these [Republican-leaning] areas it is going to be very slow in getting these people to agree to take a vaccine,” he said. “There is a culture in part of the country that is very resistant to having the government tell people how to live their lives.”

Even the president’s suggestion that his administration would go door-to-door to promote the vaccine drew swift rebuke from conservatives, some of whom raised the specter of the federal government keeping a list of unvaccinated Americans that it would soon be targeting. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday sought to reassure Americans that no such database exists after he said his comments about the government's interest in ensuring people are vaccinated were taken "wildly out of context."

 

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