Keller @ Large: New Poll Shows Political Profile To COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

A new CBS News/YouGov survey shows an emerging political profile to vaccine hesitancy. WBZ-TV's Jon Keller reports.

Video Transcript

A quarter all Americans say they have no plans to get the coronavirus vaccine when they become eligible, and another quarter still aren't sure what they'll do. And that could be a big problem. Researchers say ideally, we need a 70% to 80% vaccination rate to reach Herd immunity protection. WBZ political analyst John Keller has been looking into vaccine hesitancy.

JON KELLER: It's been three months since the first vaccination in the US, and over 100 million doses later, there's no evidence that anyone has died from it. But large numbers of people who can get the vaccine are choosing not to. The Massachusetts State Police say nearly 30% of their personnel have been no shows at special vaccination sites they set up. In the Department of Corrections, the refusal rate is 60%. And according to a new CBS News-YouGov survey, there's an emerging political profile to vaccine hesitancy. A whopping one-third of Republicans say, they'll pass, a significantly higher percentage than among independents, blacks, or Hispanics, and more than triple the number of Democrats saying no. What's to be done about it?

- How are you doing, Dr. Fauci?

- Dr. Fauci, how are you doing?

JON KELLER: Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health professionals are casting a wide net.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- We can get back to normal. Let me inform you. Let's all get the vaccine.

JON KELLER: And grassroots appeals like this one have eased resistance among minorities polling shows.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

- If Doc says, it's good, thana trust me it's good.

JON KELLER: But it won't be easy to get conservatives on board. That CBS poll found 61% of Republicans who remain skeptical of the vaccines still think they haven't been tested enough. 48% fear the side effects, and 45% say they just don't trust the government period.

- Turn those numbers around?

JON KELLER: Well Paula, Dr. Fauci recently urged President Trump to promote vaccination more aggressively, but it's unclear how much of a difference that would make. The politicization of the pandemic took hold a long time ago, and its grip is strong. There's no question about it. But what if businesses start requiring proof of vaccination from their customers? That's already under discussion regarding international travel. And while the legal implications would need sorting out, that might be necessary to prompt the stragglers to get vaccinated and make Herd immunity a reality. We'll soon see.

- That kind of effort could be a game changer. John Keller, thanks so much.