Young people, minorities less likely to get COVID vaccine

Getting a COVID vaccine isn’t just a matter of red and blue.

Despite remarks from President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempting to blame Republicans for slowing vaccination rates around the country, data shows that even some reliably left-leaning voting blocks are hesitant to get jabbed.

Pelosi last week called radio ads recorded by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky “long overdue,” and suggested his party was getting “backlash” as COVID cases started rising again. “Certainly, the Republican Party has been delinquent in embracing the science that people need to be vaccinated,” she said.

And Biden, while speaking about the uptick in cases across the country Thursday, pointed to “parts of the country where COVID cases are substantially high, where people didn’t get vaccinated.”

A man holds a "Many Vaccines Thanks Donald" sign during former President Donald Trump’s rally in Sarasota, Florida on July 3, 2021.
A man holds a “Many Vaccines Thanks Donald” sign during former President Donald Trump’s rally in Sarasota, Florida on July 3, 2021.
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

“Look, this is not about red states and blue states,” Biden said. “It’s literally about life and death. It’s about life and death. That’s what it’s about.”

Nearly 191 million Americans had gotten at least one dose of a COVID vaccine as of Saturday morning, according to the CDC.

While surveys like one released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on June 30 show Democrats with an 86 percent vaccination rate versus a 52 percent rate for Republicans, there are also significant disparities between age and racial groups.

In fact, some of the groups that voted most enthusiastically for Biden are among the least likely to be vaccinated.

President Joe Biden says “COVID cases are substantially high” in areas with low vaccination rates.
President Joe Biden says “COVID cases are substantially high” in areas with low vaccination rates.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In the 2020 election, 59% of 18-29 year olds voted for Biden, while 55% of 30-49 year olds cast a vote for the Democrat, according to the Pew Research Center.

But young people are among the least vaccinated groups.

CDC data shows those 18-24 account for 9.2 percent of the U.S. population, but only 8 percent of the vaccinated population. In the 25-39 age bracket, which makes up 20.5 percent of the population, just 19.9 percent are fully vaccinated.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the Republican party of stalling vaccination efforts.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the Republican party of stalling vaccination efforts.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The numbers tilt slightly higher for the 40-49 age group, which makes up 12.2 percent of the population, and has a 14.1 percent vaccination rate.

People over 50 were both more likely to vote for former President Donald Trump last year and be fully vaccinated.

The disparities between political leanings are even greater when race is taken into account.

A man receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination site in the arcade area of Mile Wide Beer Co. in Louisville, Kentucky on June 4, 2021.
A man receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccination site in the arcade area of Mile Wide Beer Co. in Louisville, Kentucky on June 4, 2021.
Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Biden won 92 percent of the ballots cast by black voters and 59 percent of those cast by Hispanic voters, according to Pew. But both of those groups lag when it comes to vaccinations.

CDC data shows 9 percent of black Americans are fully vaccinated, below their 12.4 percent of the population. And just 15.6 percent of Hispanics have at least one dose, below their 17.2 percent of the population.

New York City data shows about 60 percent of residents have gotten at least one dose, including 35 percent of black New Yorkers and 47 percent of Hispanics.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) for not promoting the COVID-19 vaccine.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) for not promoting the COVID-19 vaccine.
EPA/SHAWN THEW

Nationwide vaccination numbers appear to be ticking up in the last two weeks after a steady decline since April. CDC data shows the percentage of people getting their first dose in the last 14 days among 18-24 year olds edged up to 8.4 percent, while 25-39 year olds jumped to 24.2 percent and 40-49 year olds to 14.9 percent.

By race, the percentage of first doses administered to blacks in the last 14 days rose to 9.5 percent, while the portion of initial jabs that went to Hispanics rose to 16.4 percent.

The numbers also reflect increased interest in vaccines overall as concern rises about virus variants spreading.

The White House said about 3 million received their first COVID-19 shot in the past week, and the nation recorded more than 700,000 shots for four days in a row for the first time in about a month.

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