Bill Maher notwithstanding, a recent Pew survey shows that Democrats are far more willing to get a swine flu vaccination than either independents or Republicans:
For every four Democrats willing to get the vaccine, only three Republicans and independents are willing to do so. While I’m tempted to say something snarky, if this political divide holds up, this actually has serious repercussions for the spread of TEH SWINEY FLOO!!.
At both the state and local levels, there are often sharp skews in party affiliation. I’ve spot checked some county registration data for localities and it’s worse than the state differences, which already can be extreme). In a heavily Republican state (e.g., Utah), people will not avail themselves of the vaccine as much as a state like Massachusetts would. Certain regions will have very low vaccination levels, which will mean that ‘herd immunity’ won’t even have a chance in hell of happening.
Worse, even though people say they will get vaccinated, that doesn’t mean they’ll actually go through with it. They are more likely to do so, however, if they routinely interact with people who plan to take the vaccine and encourage them to do so. Likewise, there could be a negative feedback loop where someone on the fence is dissuaded from taking the vaccine.
This is why public health science should not be politicized. With this depressing post at an end, I leave you with some gallows humor:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Doubt Break ’09|