Reprinted with permission from Alternet
In a new ad that is part of a public health campaign from the Ad Council, four of the United States' five living ex-presidents — Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republican George W. Bush — can be seen urging Americans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine is available to them. But one former president is missing from the ad: Donald Trump.
NBC News' Benjy Sarlin, on Twitter, noted that getting ex-presidents to encourage vaccination for COVID-19 is the type of public health campaignthat should have come about in 2020 — and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman responded that when Trump was in the White House, he rejected the idea:
Now that three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — one from Moderna, one from Pfizer and mostly recently, one from Johnson & Johnson — President Joe Biden has promised that adults in all states will be eligible for vaccines by May 1. And health experts are hoping that that the U.S. will achieve some degree of herd immunity if enough Americans are vaccinated. But the challenge will be getting Americans vaccinated in sufficient numbers. And if recent polling is accurate, Republican voters — the ones most likely to care what Trump has to say — will be the least likely to get vaccinated.
A PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released their week found that roughly 30 percent of Americans — almost one-third — do not plan on getting vaccinated for COVID-19. And among Republicans, the numbers are especially high. The poll found that 87 percent of Democrats plan on getting vaccinated, whereas 41 percent of Republicans do not. That 41 percent includes both GOP men and GOP women, and among GOP men, the number rises to 49 percent — meaning that almost half of Republican men in the United States, according to that poll, refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
Politico reporter Joanne Kenen, in an article published this week, explained, "If a critical mass of people don't accept COVID-19 vaccines, the country won't achieve 'herd immunity.' When there was just a trickle of vaccines, hesitancy didn't matter as much because plenty of people were clamoring for the scarce shots. Now that the supply is ramping up, the challenge is to overcome fear, distrust and outright antagonism to the new vaccines shared by some groups in large numbers."
Kenen reported that there is a "high degree of hesitancy among Republicans and rural Americans" when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. But she noted that GOP pollster Frank Luntz has ideas on ways to possibly convince Republicans to get vaccinated. The Politico reporter quotes Luntz as saying, "Family is by far the most powerful motivator for vaccine acceptance. Significantly more Americans said they'd be most willing to take the vaccine for their family as opposed to 'your country,' 'the economy,' 'your community,' or 'your friends.'"