America's vaccine holdouts aren't Republicans -they're those under 65

America’s biggest vaccine holdouts aren’t Republicans – they’re young people who think COVID only poses a risk to the elderly, new data analysis finds

  • Lehigh University professor Anthony DiMaggio says despite reports blaming Republicans for holding out on vaccines, partisanship isn’t the biggest factor 
  • This contradicts comments from some Democratic leaders and political pundits 
  • Instead, DiMaggio said vaccine hesitancy is divided by age, with those younger than 65 less likely to get the jab than their elderly counterparts
  • Although politics does play somewhat into a person’s decision-making on vaccines, it’s not the most telling consideration, DiMaggio’s research found
  • Mayo Clinic vaccination data backs his assertion; it shows a plunge in percentage points for each age group below 65
  • He said the analysis suggests younger Americans have ‘discounted the dangers of COVID-19, viewing it as something that only threatens the elderly’

Americans who’ve avoided getting a COVID vaccine are more likely to have done so because they’re young, and not because they’re right wing, recent data analysis has found.  

Professor Anthony DiMaggio, who works in the political science department at Lehigh University, said the contrast in vaccination updates between Americans aged over 65 and under was far more marked than the difference in shot uptake between Democrats and Republicans. 

One of the sets of data analysis that DiMaggio analyzed, from Pew University, found that just 66 per cent of Americans aged 18 and 29 had received at least one COVID vaccine dose when polled over the summer.

That was in marked contrast to the 86 per cent of people aged 65 and up. Breaking vaccination rates down by political party, 80 per cent of Republicans aged 65 and up told Pew researchers they’d received at least one dose – well above the 72 per cent national average, with just 45 per cent of Republicans aged 18 to 29 saying they’d had one or more shots when polled at the same time.

A study showed that among all age groups, Democrats were more likely to be inoculated. It also reflected that inoculation rates dropped with each age bracket

Research from the Mayo Clinic also found older Americans were far more likely to be vaccinated than younger people

Democrats were more vaccinated overall – with 94 per cent of those aged 65 and up getting at least one jab at the time of the Pew polling. 

But that dropped by 13 per cent to the 81 per cent of 18-29 year-old Dems who told researchers they’d been inoculated against the virus.

Data from the Mayo Clinic also shows similar discrepancies among age groups. It did not separate patients by political affiliation, but 84.6% of people aged 75 and up said they’d had the shot.

The update was even higher among 65 to 74 year-olds, at 90 per cent, but plunged to just 58.4 per cent among people aged 18 to 24.  

 Dimaggio in a column hypothesized that those younger than 65 don’t believe they’re at risk of suffering Covid-related complications and thus don’t feel the vaccine is necessary.   

Though partisanship is a recognized factor among vaccine holdouts, it’s not the most element, a new analysis found

‘The significance of age as the best predictor of vaccine refusal suggests that much of the population, disproportionately concentrated among those younger than 65, have discounted the dangers of COVID-19, viewing it as something that only threatens the elderly,’ Dimaggio wrote.

‘This belief is grossly ignorant, considering that of the 800,000 U.S. COVID deaths as of December, 200,000 were people younger than 65.’ 

He continued: ‘Despite the evident dangers faced by Americans of all ages, anti-vax sentiment persists in the face of the most devastating pandemic in a century – and the prospect that new variants will continue to reduce the efficacy of vaccines and guarantee prolonged viral spread well into the future.’

 He found that while the public perception was that Republicans represented the vast majority of vaccine holdouts, partisanship wasn’t the most significant factor.  

‘It was pretty surprising,’ DiMaggio told ‘The narratives have been mainly about the Republican Party and I’ve read quite a bit about white evangelicals [being resistant], but I haven’t seen as many people talking about age and that was by far and away the biggest thing going on here.’ 

Anthony DiMaggio, a political science professor at Lehigh University

The latest findings contradict claims by leading Democrats – including Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden – and political pundits that Republicans are the biggest vaccine holdouts. ‘Anti-vaxxer’ has become interchangeable with ‘MAGA supporter’ in some liberal circles, with right-wing lawmakers’ resistance to impose vaccine mandates blamed for the slurs.

They come despite many Republican leaders being vocally pro-vaccine, with Donald Trump himself revealing last week that he’d had his COVID vaccine booster, before encouraging others to do the same. 

 Trump said Wednesday that people unvaccinated against coronavirus are the ones getting ‘very sick’.

The former president told conservative Daily Wire host Candace Evans that vaccines are effective at preventing hospitalizations.

‘And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected,’ he continued. ‘Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.’ 

Dimaggio isn’t denying the influence of politics – he is simply saying that it’s not the most significant factor.

‘Republican partisanship across the board is a driver of people not getting vaccinated, and that includes young, middle aged and older people,’ he said. ‘Even after you control the study for age, party still matters… what my study is showing is that age is the bigger factor.’

According to CDC data, about 208 million Americans are fully vaccinated with 95 percent of Americans aged 65 and older at least partially inoculated

DiMaggio said the analysis suggests younger Americans have ‘discounted the dangers of COVID-19, viewing it as something that only threatens the elderly’

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not break down vaccination rates as extensively, but shows 95 percent of Americans 65 and older have received at least one shot. 

About 85 percent of those aged 18 to 64 have gotten one jab or more and about 208 million Americans are fully vaccinated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden earlier this year leveled digs at Republicans for refusing to get vaccinated, with Pelosi in July blaming Republican leaders for failing to encourage their constituents to get the jab.

Biden also appeared to imply that partisanship was to blame for the United States’ flagging vaccine drive during a lengthy White House speech in late July.

He said: ‘Look this is not about red states and blue states, it’s literally about life and death.

‘It’s about life and death that’s what it’s about you know and I know people talk about freedom.’ 

Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have both made digs at Republicans for refusing to get vaccinated

CNN  White House reporter Stephen Collinson in an article published in October blamed conservatives for a spike in cases.

In his article, Collinson said conservatives are the group most averse to getting the shot, which led to the fourth wave.

‘Rising gasoline prices and inflation, a global supply chain backup that could empty Santa’s sled, and a pandemic Biden was elected to end but that won’t go away dominate a testing political environment,’ he wrote.

‘The economy seems to have forgotten how to get people back to work.

‘That’s largely due to a summer COVID-19 surge powered mostly by conservatives who refuse to get vaccines and who view masking and mandates as an act of government oppression.’

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