- Three Republican leaders have spoken out in favor of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Mitt Romney said that the politicization of vaccination was "an outrage" and "moronic."
- Red states tend to have lower vaccination rates than blue states.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Three Republican leaders have spoken out in favor of COVID-19 shots as red-leaning states struggle to get people vaccinated while the highly infectious Delta variant rips across the US.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told the New York Times on Wednesday that it was an "enormous error for anyone to suggest that we shouldn't be taking vaccines." "Look, the politicization of vaccination is an outrage and frankly moronic," he said.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Wednesday that most vaccine skepticism was "based on conspiracy theories, unfortunately." Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday that "we need to keep preaching that getting the vaccine is important."
Romney said that President Trump "moved heaven and earth to get vaccines developed on a timely basis" and it would be "an insult to the accomplishment" if people still failed to get the shots, per the Times.
Meanwhile, many Republicans remain skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines, believing the public health campaign to be an infringement on personal liberty. On Monday, several GOP state lawmakers proposed a new law to make it illegal to "discriminate" against people who aren't vaccinated.
Utah, Texas, and Kentucky, which are all red-leaning states, have below-average vaccine rates with respectively 45%, 43%, and 44% fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University. The national average is 48.2%.
Insider reported on Tuesday that the highest number of new cases caused by the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant are mostly in states with low vaccination rates — which on the whole are Republican.
Utah and Kentucky fit this trend with more than 80% of new infections caused by the Delta variant, according to Scripps Research Outbreak.info, which uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky, the formerly dominant Alpha variant accounts for about 60% of new infections, and Delta 30%. The exact numbers of Delta infection may vary because not all positive tests are sequenced.