The latest COVID-19 vaccination rates support what many have suspected would be the case: Trump voters appear to be getting vaccinated less.
ZIP code vaccination data, provided to The Gazette by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, combined with precinct-level 2020 election result data maintained by the Colorado secretary of state, show that in areas where former President Donald Trump received a majority of the vote in 2020, about 35% of the population is either partially or fully vaccinated.
In areas President Joe Biden won, that figure is about 45%.
The difference in vaccinations rates is even greater in areas that leaned strongly one way or the other. For areas that supported Trump at greater than 75% support, less than a quarter of people have been partially or fully vaccinated, but more than half of people in areas where Biden had more than 75% support are either partially or fully vaccinated.
The biggest difference is in the number of partially vaccinated Coloradans, meaning those who have had their first shot in the past few weeks, since vaccinations became available to all adults.
The number of Coloradans who have received a first vaccination has dropped in the past two weeks, as well.
Eric France, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s chief medical officer, said during an April 22 press conference that the demand for vaccinations has shifted.
“We’re starting to get into a new phase, out of high-demand from people who really want it fast, into a group that was maybe hesitant or wanted to wait,” France said.
The Colorado National Guard’s chief officer, Brigadier Gen. Scott M. Sherman, said the recent pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccinations probably had some effect on vaccine hesitation, perhaps causing some of the dip in new first doses administered.
The trend is no surprise to Robert J. Blendon, the Richard L. Menschel professor of public health and professor emeritus of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
At a virtual forum earlier this month, Blendon and others on the panel hosted by The Forum at his Harvard school, with POLITICO and The Commonwealth Fund, said the country’s deep political divide has ramifications for practical science and medicine, like vaccination rates.
“Democrats have substantially more confidence in medical scientists than do Republicans,” Blendon said. “You go from President Trump, who avoided being seen with medical scientists, to President Biden every day saying, ‘I am surrounded by medical scientists and they’re going to make these decisions.’ There’s a totally different view within the parties about that issue.”
The Republican aversion to government interventions, generally, has likely also had a compounding effect, the panelists said.
Gazette reporter Breeanna Jent contributed to this article.