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Unvaccinated people might not be who the media tell you they are, new data reportedly shows

Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In the face of missed vaccination targets and a rise in COVID-19 infections, the Biden administration and its mainstream media counterparts have selected their scapegoat for the continuation of the pandemic — vaccine-refusing Republicans.

"Joe Biden is done coddling conservatives and their anti-vaccine bulls**t," the headline of a recent Vanity Fair article blared.

That article had riffed off a report from Politico that stated: "The Biden administration is casting conservative opponents of its COVID-19 vaccine campaign as dangerous and extreme, adopting a more aggressive political posture in an attempt to maneuver through the public health conundrum."

Still another report from the Intelligencer stated, "The willfully unvaccinated are the newest Republican martyrs."

Just a brief survey of the media landscape surfaces countless more articles and soundbites making essentially the same claim: Conservatives are the ones refusing the vaccine and subsequently prolonging the nation's recovery from the virus.

But is that actually the case? According to new data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, it appears no, at least not entirely. The health policy think tank published studies on COVID-19 vaccinations by race, ethnicity, and age recently that seemed to suggest that traditionally Democratic groups — blacks, Hispanics, and young people — are the ones not getting vaccinated.

In a study published this week, KFF reported, "The percent of White people who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose (48%) was roughly 1.3 times higher than the rate for Black people (36%) and 1.2 times higher than the rate for Hispanic people (41%) as of July 19, 2021."

In a separate study published late last month, KFF noted that younger adults, those age 18-29, were among the least vaccinated subgroups with just 55% reportedly receiving at least one dose.

Part of the reason for some confusion and exaggeration of the political vaccination divide could be that the Republican states with lowest vaccination rates — such as Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia — also happen to be states with large minority populations.

In its coverage of the news, Issues & Insights noted that findings from a Monmouth poll last month further suggested that "Republicans are not entirely, or even mostly, to blame for low vaccine rates."

According to that poll, 70% of whites said they had received at least one dose of the vaccine while only 59% of those in minority groups said they had.

Additionally, though Republicans were far less likely to have received the vaccine than Democrats, more Republicans (60%) than Independents (59%) had in fact already received the first dose. Similarly, slightly fewer Republicans (26%) than Independents (27%) stated that they "likely will never get" the vaccine.

Interestingly, Issues & Insights went on to note that "it's leftists who are the most influential anti-vaxxers on the planet":

The "dirty dozen" of anti-COVID vaccine influencers compiled by one research group is made up of people such as: a Nation of Islam member, a regular columnist at the left-wing Huffington Post, the head of the Urban Global Health Alliance, a "holistic psychiatrist," a former owner of an organic farm, several alternative medicine quacks, and long-time anti-vaxxers including ... Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

"Not exactly a bunch of right-wing Trump supporters," the outlet quipped. "In fact, some in this 'dirty dozen' have targeted the black community with anti-vax messages."

Yet instead of targeting vaccine-hesitant minority communities in addition to vaccine-hesitant Republicans, the left is determined to take the more politically expedient route and attack conservatives alone.

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