New polling published in the Detroit Free Press casts a new light on a fierce debate taking place in the GOP-controlled Legislature over who deserves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, with several Republicans arguing that factors like race and socio-economic status should not be used in the state’s distribution.
The poll from Lansing-based EPIC-MRA shows that GOP voters are evenly divided on getting immunized against COVID, with 47% saying they don’t plan to do so and 46% saying they do. This is in sharp contrast to Michiganders overall, with 70% planning to get the vaccine and 27% saying they won’t.
Michigan’s goal is to get 70% of the population vaccinated to help reach herd immunity.
The survey also showed that 90% of Democrats and 80% of independents said they would get the vaccine.
“What we’re dealing with is a bizarre situation,” said Dr. Arnold Monto, a University of Michigan epidemiologist who last year led the committee that assessed the first two vaccines to be approved told the Free Press. “There is enormous interest in one group of people who are aware of the situation and who are desperate to get the vaccine. Then we have this other group that is not interested. It is very unusual.”
National surveys have shown similar political divides. Civiqs polling showed that 41% of Republicans say they don’t plan to get a vaccine and 33% do, while 70% of Democrats and 47% of independents say they plan to get vaccinated.
The EPIC-MRA poll of 600 people from Feb. 19 to 25 did not find a racial divide, with 71% of whites and Blacks saying they plan to get the shot.
The survey found that those against abortion rights were less likely to get it than those who support abortion rights. Of those who are anti-abortion, 51% said they would get vaccinated and 42% said they wouldn’t, compared to 85% of abortion rights supporters who said they would get the vaccine and 13% who would not.
Legislation that has passed both the House and Senate includes language that would require a warning for people that fetal tissue could have been used in vaccine development, something pushed by Right to Life of Michigan.