Op-Ed: Are vaccination rates impacted by politics?
As we all have watched in great amazement the outsize rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, particularly in most southern states, I wondered if there was a trend between vaccination rates and party affiliation.
I know the mere thought sounds absurd; however, after watching a recent program on “Jugando Pelota Dura” in Puerto Rico that included medical experts against anti-vaxxers, I asked myself, “What exactly the situation is in the States?”
One factor to consider is that there are 175,546,920 million fully vaccinated citizens in the United States, which represents only 52.58% of the qualifiable population. At present, the United States is 17.42% short of President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the U.S. population, which was set to reach the now irrelevant herd immunity.
So, after much analysis and listening to every point of view in CNN, Bloomberg, and Fox News for good measure, I began to think otherwise. By the way, watching Fox News is like living on another planet.
Additionally, the anti-vaxxers have a series of conspiracy theories, and I would like to remind you of the Top 5:
- The vaccine includes a microchip;
- The vaccine alters your DNA;
- The vaccine is causing COVID-19 variants;
- The vaccine has already led to many deaths; and,
- They want to keep their body intact and clean.
After going through the vaccination record of all the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, we note the following:
Puerto Rico ranks number one in the U.S. with 2,079,957 citizens fully vaccinated and a 73% vaccination rate.
The rest of the Top 11 includes:
- Puerto Rico, 73.30%
- Vermont, 68.35%
- Connecticut, 66.66%
- Massachusetts, 66.52%
- Maine, 66.45%
- Rhode Island, 65.69%
- New Jersey, 62.27%
- Maryland, 62.20%
- New York, 61.10%
- Washington, 60.94%
- New México, 60.80%
When we consider all the states in the Top 11 vaccination rates above 60%, nine are Democrat, one is Republican, and that is Vermont in the Number 2 spot. Only Puerto Rico has reached President Biden’s 70% goal.
The trend continues among the Top 20 and the only Republican state in the 11 to 20 in New Hampshire, ranking #12.
However, in the bottom 26, all states with vaccination rates of less than 50%, there are only three states that are Democrat: Nevada with 48.67%, North Carolina with 47.22%, and the USVI with 41.20%. That means that 23, or 89% of those states controlled by Republicans have the worst vaccination rates in the country, while the worst COVID-19 delta variant increases.
What is surprising is that President Trump pushed to fast-track the vaccines we now have with Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. President Trump also authorized through the FDA approval of Regeneron’s drug to prevent hospitalization and alleviate disease symptoms in patients.
The critical question is why are President Trump’s followers mostly avoiding vaccines and any other treatment?
As we all watched the football games and other events this weekend, I cringed when I saw stadiums and venues filled with zero distancing and no face masks. While we are protecting our people here, some Republican governors in other states are suing people not to wear face masks.
As politicians in the states have converted the pandemic into a political, rather than a scientific issue, the worst possible outcome is rising hospitalizations, deaths, and the worst potential impact to those economies.
The facts are the facts and numbers do not lie. Most medical experts will tell you that:
- The unvaccinated are seven times more likely to test positive for COVID-19;
- The unvaccinated are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people; and,
- The unvaccinated are 32 times more likely to die from COVID-19.
In conclusion, receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines is the most advantageous method to lessen the risks of a severe hospitalization or even death from COVID-19.
The facts are the facts, and they do not lie. Do the right thing; Get vaccinated today!