NCGOP leader: Want to get the economy open? Get your vaccination shot

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- To continue reopening North Carolina's economy, the head of the state's Republican Party is urging everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.

Michael Whatley, NCGOP Chairman, said he will be ready when it's time to roll up his sleeve.

"Look, I'm going to get the shot as soon as I'm eligible," he told ABC11 on Tuesday. "I encourage everybody else to get the shot as soon as they're eligible. If anybody has any concerns about the safety or efficacy of the shots, they should talk to their doctors about it, but this is certainly a personal choice and one between any individuals and their doctors."

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, encouraged all Republican men to get vaccinated, in response to polls showing the demographic expressed the most reluctance to getting a shot.

"I can stand here as a Republican man, as soon as it was my turn, I took the vaccine," he said during a news conference outside of a health care clinic. "I would encourage all Republican men to do that."

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey conducted earlier this month drew out sharp partisan differences in attitudes toward a COVID-19 vaccine.

Though 84% of Republican men said they or someone they personally know got sick from COVID-19, 49% of them said they would not get a vaccine to protect against the virus; among Democratic men, 6% said they would turn down the shot, which was developed under a Republican administration during then-President Donald Trump's Operation Warp Speed.

The same survey showed 34% of Republican women do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 14% of Democratic women.

Racial differences were minimal in terms of vaccine reluctance; 28% of Caucasian respondents said they wouldn't get vaccinated, compared to 25% of Black respondents and 37% of Latinos.

When asked what was generating the hesitancy among Republican men, Whatley said he didn't know.

"In terms of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, that's absolutely not political," he said. "That's going to be based on science."

Whatley said the NCGOP has been talking about ways to encourage Republicans to get vaccinated but said it is important everyone, regardless of political affiliation, take the shot when it's their turn.

"We need to open North Carolina back up," he said. "We need to get the kids back in school, glad to see that's moving forward. We need to get the economy reopened and we also need to make sure we do all that safely and a key component of making sure that we're able to move forward safely is having everybody get vaccinated."
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