NCGOP encourages COVID-19 vaccinations, says vaccines "not political"

To continue reopening North Carolina's economy, the head of the state GOP is urging everyone, especially reluctant Republicans, to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.

Video Transcript

ANDREA BLANFORD: The head of North Carolina's Republican Party says they've been talking about ways of how to be proactive, encouraging everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can. When his turn comes Michael Whatley will roll up his sleeve.

MICHAEL WHATLEY: Look, I'm going to get the shot as soon as I'm eligible. I encourage everybody else to get the shot as soon as they're eligible. If anybody has any concerns about the safety or efficacy of the shots, then they should talk to their doctors about it. But this is certainly a personal choice and one between, you know, any individual and their doctors.

ANDREA BLANFORD: The NCGOP chairman says the science around COVID-19 vaccines should speak for itself.

MICHAEL WHATLEY: In terms of the efficacy and the safety of the vaccines, that's absolutely not political. That's going to be based on science.

ANDREA BLANFORD: But an NPR/PBS/Marist survey earlier this month drew out sharp partisan differences and attitudes toward a coronavirus vaccine. While 84% of Republican men said either they or someone they know got sick from COVID-19, nearly half said they would not get a vaccine to protect against the virus, compared to only 6% of Democratic men who said they'd turned down the shot.

MITCH MCCONNELL: I can stand here as a Republican man, as soon as it was my turn, I took the vaccine.

ANDREA BLANFORD: A modern medical miracle, that's how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell referred this week to the three vaccines going into arms across the US, his included. Trying to tamp down reluctance, touting the vaccine's superior efficacy rates over any flu shot.

MITCH MCCONNELL: With regard to Republican men, take the vaccination.

ANDREA BLANFORD: Whatley says, politics aside, the party's been talking about ways to be proactive, to encourage everyone to get the shot.

MICHAEL WHATLEY: A key component of making sure that we're going to be able to move forward safely is having everybody get vaccinated.

ANDREA BLANFORD: That same survey showed racial differences were minimal in regards to who wants a COVID 19 vaccine. Among women, 34% of Republican women said they don't plan to get vaccinated, compared to 14% of Democratic women. In Raleigh, Andrea Blanford, ABC11 Eyewitness News.

- Andrea, thank you. And a--