According to people familiar with the situation, conservatives’ reluctance to get vaccinated against Covid-19 is causing increasing anxiety within the White House, even as President Joe Biden’s administration steps up nationwide vaccination efforts.
According to the officials, the issue has been the focus of many high-level discussions between administration advisers and health experts, including at the presidential level.
Officials said that conservatives will now be one of the key target markets for a massive public relations campaign that could begin as soon as next week. In addition, the administration has collaborated with NASCAR, country music groups, and other rural organizations on vaccine faith initiatives aimed at conservatives.
Currently, President Donald Trump, who some analysts claim would be successful if he openly supported vaccines, remains unlikely to cooperate with the new administration in any way to encourage vaccinations. In addition, surveys show that the number of Trump supporters who say they will not get the vaccine is increasing.
The effort to persuade citizens who did not vote for Biden to get vaccinated highlights the challenge of handling the pandemic’s tangled politics. The vaccine, like masks, social distancing, and lockdowns, is a health measure that divides Americans by political affiliation, fuelled in part by conservative media distortions.
According to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, approximately 47% of people who voted for Trump in the 2020 election said they would not get the Covid-19 vaccine if it were available.
Trump, who obtained the vaccine privately before leaving the White House in January, did not appear in a PSA advertising the vaccine alongside other former presidents. In an interview this week, he urged his followers to get it.
“I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” he said during a phone interview on Fox Business on Tuesday. “It is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works.”
The former President’s remarks drew the attention of White House officials, who were trying to come up with ways to raise vaccine interest in a population over which they admit they have little influence. There has been an expectation among Biden’s advisors that having Trump interested in promoting the vaccine would eventually entail giving him credit for assisting in the rapid production of the products when he was president, something he has craved since leaving office.
Biden’s press secretary indicated a day before Trump’s remarks that he shouldn’t need a “engraved invitation” to support the vaccine. And Biden himself downplayed Trump’s ability to persuade his followers to get vaccinated.
“The thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” Biden told reporters.
The President was referring to the results of a focus group led by Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who gathered 19 Trump supporters over the weekend. The purpose of the session was to bring vaccine messaging techniques to the test.
The results of the focus group, which included a show of hands on who would be more influential in whether the participants chose to get the vaccine, were noted by officials within the White House.
The results of the focus group, which included a show of hands on who would be more influential in whether the participants chose to get the vaccine, were noted by officials within the White House. They all said that their own doctors would have more clout than Trump.
Initially, White House attempts to combat vaccine anxiety centered on minorities, who have demonstrated higher levels of apprehension in surveys. However, officials have recently recognized that conservatives and Republicans would need similar measures, necessitating strategy changes.