Data directly from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) certainly makes it appear that the more conservative areas of the country are the least likely to get vaccinated, but that's not just a visual anomaly or coincidence.
There's no record of exactly who people vote for in each election but, when looking at counties that voted for Trump compared to vaccination rates, we can see that Trump voters are not getting vaccinated even when supplies are high and the shot is free.
The New York Times examined survey and vaccine administration data for nearly every U.S. county and found that both willingness to receive a vaccine and actual vaccination rates to date were lower, on average, in counties where a majority of residents voted to re-elect former President Donald J. Trump in 2020. The phenomenon has left some places with a shortage of supply and others with a glut.
In more than 500 counties, at least a quarter of adults might not be willing to get vaccinated, according to the estimates, and a majority of these places supported Mr. Trump in the last election.
In the 10 states where the government projected that residents would be least hesitant to get a Covid-19 vaccine, voters chose Mr. Biden in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump won nine of the 10 states where the most residents said they would probably or definitely not get the vaccine. (He did not win Georgia, which is among those states.)
This is anecdotal, of course, but when I went for my first dose of the vaccine I was the youngest person there by at least 40 years and it wasn't a long line.
But maybe that's not entirely anecdotal. I live in Ohio and according to the records examined by the New York Times, the average vaccination rate is lower here and the state also voted for Donald Trump. Statistically speaking, over half of my neighbors voted for Trump but that's something I try not to think about too much because it suggests what their opinion of me might be. But I digress.
It's ironic that conservative areas of the country may prolong public health restrictions through their own actions. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he would cancel the state mask mandate once new coronavirus infections fall below a certain level, but infections have been trending in the wrong direction as people stop taking the pandemic seriously and our vaccinations rates are below other states.
I hope I'm wrong, but if a third or more of the country refuses to get vaccinated we might settle into a consistent, long-term pattern of infections and deaths that will never fall below a certain level. The coronavirus could become another chronic health problem largely associated with conservative states that already have the poorest health and a larger share of people who aren't vaccinated.