Fear, misinformation muddle efforts to vaccinate some American conservatives

Even after assurances from health care experts that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, some conservatives are fiercely skeptical. Republican lawmakers have in part perpetuated misinformation.
8:51 | 05/11/21

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Transcript for Fear, misinformation muddle efforts to vaccinate some American conservatives
I don't think the government should be pushing anything medical on people. I don't want to go around every street corn seeing signs to get something medically pushed or every time you open up social media, there is something medical there. Reporter: What Abigail Edwards says she values is freedom, the right to choose how she takes care of her family. The young mother of three raising her family of three outside Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a devout Christian and conservative. I believe THA we are intricately created, and the things that we need have been provided to us by god. Reporter: And she is one of millions of Republicans reluctant to get vaccinated for covid-19 and deeply suspicious of all three vaccines currently available in the U.S. Do you think there would be downsides to getting the vaccine? Potentially, because we just don't know enough about it. We don't know the long-term effects of it. There is a list of adverse events that can happen. You can do that with any vaccines. The vaccines have all been through a rigorous authorization process that included extensive clinical trials showing their effectiveness and safety. What are the risks of getting vaccinated? Very low. What are the risks of not getting vaccinated? Very high when it comes to covid-19. And though millions and millions of Republicans have already willingly been vaccinated, the pandemic has shown America's deep political divisions have fully permeated public health issues. I think it's pretty clear that one of the root causes of the vaccine hesitancy among Republicans in particular is the fact that the entire covid-19 pandemic has been politically weaponized since trump's presidency. Whether it was wearing a mask, whether it was socially distancing, now it's vaccines which is just responsible behavior. An ongoing research project by the Kaiser family foundation found 20% of Republicans will dfinitely not get the vaccine, more than any other demographic group. And while 58% of adults have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, the vaccination rate in the united States has already slowed significantly. Last week less than two million doses were administered per day, the lowest since March. 100 million adults are eligible for the vaccine and haven't gotten it yet. And the downturn is potentially jeopardizing the goal of herd immunity, creating the risk the virus continues to circulate through the general population for years to come. The urge to vaccinate a significant percentage or a majority of the population really is twofold. Yes, it has to do with protecting you as an individual, but it also is important for protecting those around you. This is really not just about you, but it's about others as well. Reporter: But maybe the greater good isn't strong enough itself. Across the country, there are new incentives. You get your shot on Tuesday, whether it be a covid vaccine and I will give you a beer. Reporter: Sites offering free beer, free donuts, each free baseball tickets. But health officials may have an uphill battle to reach some conservative holdouts where vaccine hesitancy in many forms is at times fueled by prominent Republicans like Kentucky senator and physician Rand Paul. Do you know why people don't trust the government? Because the government is saying oh, no, everyone is the same. Whether you've had the disease or not, you have to be vaccinated. Reporter: Senator Paul has not been vaccinated. He contracted covid at the very beginning of the pandemic, and a spokesperson tells ABC news Dr. Paul has developed an immune defense to the virus, which is the same goal and result of the vaccine. Being naturally infected with covid absolutely does give some degree of immune protection. It's not as strong as that which we get with the vaccine. Reporter: And Fox News host tucker Carlson broadcasting misleading information about the vaccine to his millions of viewers without saying if he got vaccinated himself. Vaccine misinformation literally can be the difference between life and death for people. Misinformation, disinformation can cost people their lives. And if it's not your life directly, it could be someone that you love. Reporter: Do you think that misinformation is a problem? Oh, yeah. I definitely think misinformation is a problem. I am very careful to share things that are solidly founded. I don't want to just shoot things off because I'm very much a person of truth and integrity. Reporter: At what point if you were to get sick, at what point would you say maybe I actually should go to a doctor? Okay, so first off, we do have an incredible chiropractor. So he is very trained in our body and in nutrients and stuff like that. So honestly, he is our first call. We go there first. If my kids spike a fever or if my kid is acting off, that's our first resort. Reporter: Does your chiropractor have a medical degree? He has several degrees on his walls. I'll be giving your shot. Reporter: Congressman and doctor bra wenstrop has a medical degree and is trying to combat the misinformation and fear surrounding the vaccine firsthand. You ready? One, two, three. And yes done. Reporter: An army veteran who served in the Iraq war on this day his mission is personally administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at uc health's vaccination center in Cincinnati. It was an important message from the congressional side and the physician side to say corners weren't cut. Actually, more people were in these trials than most drugs have. Corners weren't cut. Bureaucracy was cut. Red tape was cut and sped up. Reporter: Every shot that the congressman administers is one less person likely to get sick and die from covid-19. Just last Friday, as I was getting the data for the greater Cincinnati area, you know, where I serve and represent, we had 142 people in the hospital with covid. Not one of them had been vaccinated. Tht tells you almost everything that you want to know. The vaccines that we have right now are working from what you're seeing? They are working. There is no doubt about it. We're seeing the numbers drop. People say what's the vaccine going to do long-term? I will tell you, I'm concerned about what the virus is going to do long-term. Reporter: Winstrop is the chair of the GOP Republican caucus, who created these pas. As more Americans are vaccinated, we can get back to things that are important to us. Reporter: Encouraging millions of Americans, conservative or otherwise to get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor. Get all the information you need and decide which vaccine is best for you. Reporter: Why do you think the hesitancy is so high among that group? That's tough to say. In some regards, some people have felt like their freedoms have been taken from them. This vaccine was developed by - Republicans and Democrats and independents. Reporter: And other Republicans are also publicly promoting the vaccine. Last week Ivanka Trump posted she had received her second dose writing that getting fully vaccinated is the best way to end this pandemic and protect ourselves and one another. And former vice president Mike pence even getting his shot on live TV last December while still in office. And president trump's administration launched operation warp speed, which helped develop the life-saving vaccines, a success of his term. It's called operation warp speed. That means big and that means We did something that is really considered a medical miracle. They're calling it a miracle, and that was the vaccine. Reporter: But some say the former president sent mixed messages about the vaccine. Even though he went ahead and got the vaccine himself, he did it in silence, when he should have done it publicly. That would have been the responsible thing to do. And a lot of his followers, a lot of his supporters would have probably followed in his footsteps. We lost crucial time in getting that into people's mind-set that it's okay and safe to take the vaccine. Reporter: You are at peace now with your family not being vaccinated? Yeah, I'm at peace with that. You got your sticker? You had your shot? Reporter: Still, congressman winstrop is undaunted, that despite any difference of opinion, he believes the country can work together to end the pandemic. Well, I am hopeful that people see more of that and people feel good about the fax that they've gotten their vaccination. We give them the stickers just like voting. I voted today. I got vaccinated today. And so I see that there's a lot of pride and relief for a lot of people. As one person said, I got some armor on now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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