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Sen. Rubio: Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancy Isn’t ‘Partisan’

Topline

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday claimed vaccine hesitancy is not “partisan,” despite polling showing Republicans are overwhelmingly more reluctant to get a coronavirus shot than Democrats. 

Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and … [+] Transportation confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 21, 2021. (Photo by Graeme Jennings / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

Asked by CBS’ Anthony Mason whether Republicans should be “doing more” to convince “skeptical constituents” to get immunized, Rubio responded, “Well, I don’t think the skepticism is just among Republicans.” 

Mason pointed to a recent CBS/YouGov poll that found 29% of Republicans say they won’t get vaccinated, compared to just 6% of Democrats.

“This is really not a partisan issue,” Rubio responded, adding, “I don’t care what the polling says.”

Rubio said he knew of “African American and Hispanic communities in Florida” where there’s a “high hesitancy to get vaccinated for a lot of different reasons.”

Crucial Quote

“At the end of the day, the vaccine is the vaccine and this is a human thing, and either you take it or you don’t,” Rubio said. “There are some people who don’t want to get vaccinated and you won’t convince them.” 

Key Background

Polling has consistently shown Republicans are among the most skeptical of coronavirus vaccines of any group in the country. On the ground evidence tells a similar story: all of the 18 states that reached President Biden’s goal of partially or fully vaccinating 70% of their adults by July 4 voted for him in 2020. Black and Latino Americans continue to lag behind whites in vaccinations, though the disparity is not as severe as the vaccine political divide. 

What To Watch For

Republicans have faced newfound pressure to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated as the Delta variant drives a surge in infections across the country. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has led a concerted effort by Republicans to decrease shot hesitancy, even as some members of the party continue to float vaccine conspiracy theories. Early in the interview, Rubio strongly urged Americans to get vaccinated even as he argued it was not the “government’s fault” some people haven’t gotten a shot. Fox News, the go-to network for conservatives, has also made a push to urge its viewers to get inoculated amid growing criticism of the network’s vaccine coverage.

Further Reading

Growing number of Republicans urge vaccinations amid delta surge (Washington Post)

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