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Yale Study: More Republicans Died of COVID After Vaccines

COVID-19 protests
Created: 21 November, 2022
Updated: 13 September, 2023
2 min read

A new study reviewing COVID-19 deaths shows that a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats died from the illness after vaccines became available last year.

Researchers looked 600,000 death records in Ohio and Florida and connected them to voter registration records to confirm party affiliations. Other studies had looked at COVID-19 death rates in counties with higher Republican Party registration, but this study connected individual patients' official voter registration records to confirm party affiliation.

The study, conducted by Yale University School of Medicine, looked at deaths both before and after vaccines became available. The findings showed that COVID-19 deaths among Republicans were only 1.6% higher than among Democrats before the vaccines, but jumped to more than 10.6% higher after vaccines were widely available beginning in April 2021.

Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points, or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats.

One of the lead researchers, Yale School of Medicine's Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, says the study does not prove partisan attitudes toward vaccines caused the increase in deaths, but that the study provides "pretty good evidence" that low vaccine take-up rates among Republicans correlate with higher death rates and should give policy-makers clues on how to better reach out to the community during public health crises.

"It gives you a sense of where you should be looking and who you should be targeting if you want to solve some of these problems,” Goldsmith-Pinkham said.

Protests against vaccine requirements became a political hot-button issue with many Republican politicians, including Donald Trump, opposing mandatory vaccinations.

Several high-profile vaccine opponents, including conservative radio show hosts Phil Valentine, Dick Farrell, Dr. Jimmy DeYoung Sr., and Tod Tucker, died of complications caused by COVID-19 after repeatedly opposing vaccines and spreading misinformation about the pandemic.

The full study can be downloaded here. Yale COVID-19 Study.