NEWS AND OPINION:
The COVID-19 vaccine is now being administered on a carefully calibrated basis, first to front-line responders and soon to very high-risk groups — thank you, President Trump.
A complicated public reaction is brewing, however. Over one-quarter of the U.S. population say they would balk at the vaccine. There is now an emerging “hesitant” quotient among those who are leery of getting the shot for a whole spectrum of reasons.
As usual, there is a pronounced partisan divide. Republicans are the most hesitant to get the vaccine, according to a new poll released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Democrats, the survey found, are the least hesitant.
“About a quarter (27%) of the public remains vaccine hesitant, saying they probably or definitely would not get a COVID-19 vaccine even if it were available for free and deemed safe by scientists. Vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans (42%), those ages 30-49 (36%), and rural residents (35%),” the poll analysis reports.
“Importantly, 35% of Black adults (a group that has borne a disproportionate burden of the pandemic) say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated, as do one-third of those who say they have been deemed essential workers and three in ten (29%) of those who work in a health care delivery setting,” Kaiser writes.
Just 12% of Democrats, meanwhile, are vaccine hesitant.
See the reasons why people are uneasy about the vaccine in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT
“Researchers uncover evidence that UV radiation from sunlight reduces COVID-19 transmission,” reports a group of researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“Too bad we’ve kept everyone indoors,” responds Glenn Reynolds, a USA Today columnist and founder of the popular Instapundit political blog.
‘REAGAN’ MOVIE UNDERWAY
Production for a major feature film about former President Ronald Reagan is now underway with a stellar lineup of actors, a meticulous script and some thoughtful casting choices.
“Reagan” portrays the life of “one of the most consequential men in American history,” the production team said, and is shaping up to be a showcase for a diverse group of actors.
The cast includes Dennis Quaid as Reagan himself, plus Academy Award winner Jon Voight as a KGB operative who tracked Reagan for four decades, Robert Davi as Leonid Brezhnev, Penelope Ann Miller as Nancy Reagan, Mena Suvari as Reagan’s first wife Jane Wyman, Kevin Dillon as Jack Warner, and Lesley-Anne Down as Margaret Thatcher. Scott Stapp, lead singer for the rock band Creed, will portray Frank Sinatra.
Producers announced Thursday that the newest member of the cast is veteran actor Will Wallace, who has appeared in some 40 major films, including “The Thin Red Line” and “Rules of Engagement,” among others. He’ll portray former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this timely and poignant story about such a prominent figure in history. I am particularly honored to play such an interesting character as Edwin Meese,” Mr. Wallace said in a statement to The Washington Times.
Though they were unable to meet in person during the COVID-19 era, the actor was able to visit with Mr. Meese via Zoom before he took on the role.
The movie itself is being directed by Sean McNamara and produced by Mark Joseph, whose credits include “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Passion of The Christ” among many projects.
“Reagan” will be released in 2021.
FOXIFIED: YEAR END
Fox News has had a very good year, according to audience numbers from Nielsen Media Research, which reveal that the cable news giant averaged 4 million weekday prime-time viewers for the entire year. This is the first time — ever — that a cable news network has accrued such consistent high numbers.
Fox News is also muscling in on the Big Three networks, ranking third across the entire television realm in weekday prime-time, behind only CBS and NBC. The year-end averages are: CBS (4.6 million prime-time viewers); NBC (4.3 million); FNC (4.1 million); ABC (3.8 million) and Fox (3.3 million).
“Hannity” remain the top program of all, averaging 4.4 million nightly viewers, followed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with 4.3 million.
“This ratings milestone is a testament to the incredible work of the Fox News Channel team during a pivotal year. We are immensely proud and honored to once again serve as the destination for news and opinion in America,” says Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media.
Fox Business Network also enjoyed it highest-rated year ever — led by “Mornings with Maria,” “Lou Dobbs Tonight” and “Varney & Co.” — which all set their own ratings records this year, according to Nielsen.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
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POLL DU JOUR
• 27% of U.S. adults are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
• 59% of this group fear possible side effects, 55% don’t trust the government to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective.
• 53% want to wait to see how the vaccine works with other people.
• 51% say politics have played too great a role in the vaccine’s development.
• 43% say COVID-19 risks have been exaggerated, 37% don’t trust vaccines in general.
• 35% don’t trust the health system, 27% fear getting COVID-19 from the shot, 20% say they are not at risk to contract the virus.
Source: A Kaiser Family Foundation poll of 1,676 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 8 and released Tuesday.
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