Vaccine hesitancy persists along partisan lines, Bexar Facts poll shows

Only 10% of those polled said they were unlikely to receive COVID-19 vaccine

SAN ANTONIO – Though COVID-19 vaccination rates have grown significantly over the past few months amid concerns over the delta variant, the latest Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report poll shows that some people remain hesitant to roll up their sleeves for the shot.

The polling, which took place over phone and email in English and Spanish between Sept. 21 and Sept. 27, gauged the opinions of 602 Bexar County voters. More than 80% of voters surveyed have been vaccinated, they told pollsters. Roughly 4% of those unvaccinated stated they are likely to get vaccinated soon, while 10% indicated they were unlikely to get vaccinated.

Bexar County voters were asked about their views on coronavirus and vaccinations. (KSAT)

Voters who said they were unlikely to get vaccinated were asked an open-ended question about their reasons.

The reasons were varied, but the most common answers included a distrust of vaccines in general and a concern over potential side effects from the vaccine. Others said they already had COVID-19 and are depending on natural immunity to keep them safe, though health experts have debunked that myth.

“What we’ve learned over the last few months is that people who have had prior infection with COVID-19 and have developed natural immunity and antibodies from natural infection, unfortunately, are not protected against this new delta variant,” Dr. Jason Bowling, University Health Director of Hospital Epidemiology previously told KSAT 12 News.

Bexar County voters were asked about their views on coronavirus and vaccinations. (KSAT)

The responses came along partisan lines, the polling showed. The most unlikely groups to get vaccinated include conservative independents, Republicans between the ages of 18 and 49 and voters who identified as “strong Republicans.”

That kind of partisan split was also apparent when voters were asked about their concerns over contracting the virus. Though a total of 66% said they were concerned over getting infected, 87% of those who responded that way were Democrats, while 60% of Republicans were not concerned over contracting the virus, the polling showed.

The politicization of vaccinations has medical experts concerned.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner under President Donald Trump, brought up those concerns in a recent interview on CBS Sunday show “Face the Nation.” The concern goes beyond COVID-19 vaccinations.

“I do worry about the consequences of the moment we’re in. The fact that now vaccination is something that’s dividing us culturally and politically, because I think that’s going to have broader implications than just around COVID,” Gottlieb said. “I worry that going forward, we’re going to see vaccination rates decline as this becomes more of a political football.”

In general, vaccination numbers have been steadily growing in Bexar County.

As of Monday, the state’s health department reported that more than two-thirds of Bexar County residents older than 12 have been fully vaccinated, and nearly 80% of the population oldler than 12 has received at least one dose.

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About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.