The skepticism is the result of multiple factors — from the anti-vaccine movement gaining energy as a result of pandemic blowback, a conservative media ecosystem that has elevated those views, Trump’s downplaying of the severity of the crisis, deep-rooted distrust of the federal government, concerns over how quickly the vaccines were developed, and messaging from the scientific community that sounds as if getting the vaccine won’t trigger a greater return to normalcy in the immediate future.
“When scientists are out there saying ‘even if you’re vaccinated, you can’t do this or don’t expect to do that until 2022,’ you’re actively telling people that getting vaccinated doesn’t matter,” the GOP strategist Matt Gorman said. “The message is simple: Want to return to normal life? Get a vaccine ASAP. … It’s really that simple.”…
The administration is having ongoing conversations with conservative, evangelical and rural leaders. And, in addition to running ads on conservative media, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins appeared on the Christian Broadcasting Network and The 700 Club, and White House Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt appeared on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show.
The work may need to be done by those in the Republican Party with the most ambition for the future. Potential presidential candidates including former Vice President Mike Pence, and Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have been vaccinated.