Christopher Ingraham, of the Why Axis newsletter:
The net result of this relentless pressure: even in the midst of a variant surge that’s proven especially lethal in conservative areas, nearly 40 percent of Republicans say they’re either unwilling to get the vaccine or uncertain about it, compared to just 15 percent of Democrats.
But the Republican turn against vaccines didn’t happen in a vacuum. The anti-vax movement has been laying the groundwork for decades, and it’s useful to think of both Republicans’ hesitancy and Democrats’ squeamishness over vaccine mandates as the fruits of a sustained campaign to sow doubt about the benefits of inoculation.
This is U.S. specific, but it is a similar — though slightly less alarming — story here in Canada. A recent survey from Angus Reid and an online-first study published in the Lancet show a much lower willingness to vaccinate in Canada’s most conservative provinces. You can see the results in national coverage maps: in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, three-quarters of all eligible people are fully vaccinated; in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the rate is under seventy percent, with predictable and often tragic results. There are many reasons for anti-vaccination beliefs, but let us not pretend that the overlap with certain political beliefs is coincidental.
On a related note, I highly recommend Harris Brewis’ lengthy video about the anti-vaccination movement.