• Vaccine hesitancy is shown to be more prominent in Republican-leaning groups: Survey
  • Only 24% of Republicans see themselves at risk for infection
  • Fauci warned of a regional surge of cases caused by the Delta variant

A majority of vaccine-hesitant Americans believe that officials are “exaggerating” the risk of the Delta COVID-19 variant, which was first detected in India, a new poll showed.

The survey released by The Washington Post and ABC News found that one in three Americans polled are unlikely to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. Among those who expressed hesitancy, 73% said they believe the government is only “exaggerating” the risk of the B.1.617.2 Delta variant.

Of the groups that said the Delta variant is being “exaggerated,” 57% were Republicans, 55% conservatives, 49% evangelical white Protestants, and 47% residents who live in the rural areas.

Among Independents, the number of people who believe the Delta variant is exaggerated falls to 39%. Among Democrats, the figures further fall to only 12%.

The new poll, produced by Langer Research Associates, also found vaccine hesitancy to be more prominent among Republican-leaning groups. At least 49% of the surveyed Republicans said they have either received COVID-19 vaccine shots or are planning to get the jabs. In comparison, 93% of Democrats and 65% of Independents said they are vaccinated or plan to be.

The poll found that only 24% of Republicans see themselves as at risk of contracting COVID-19. In comparison, 28% of Independents and 31% of Democrats share the same thought.

The poll comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House's top infectious disease expert, warned against a potential surge in cases caused by the Delta variant in certain areas of the nation.

“I don’t think you’re going to be seeing anything nationwide, because fortunately we have a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. So it’s going to be regional,” he said, according to The Guardian.

“In some places, some states, some cities, some areas, where the level of vaccination is low and the level of virus dissemination is high – that’s where you’re going to see the spikes,” he added.

Addressing global vaccine shortages, Fauci stated that the United States was “very fortunate.”

“We have enough vaccines to vaccinate essentially everybody in the country. And there are people throughout the world who would do anything to get vaccines.”

The B.1.617.2 variant is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, first found in the United Kingdom, a report from Public Health England said, according to WebMD.

The vaccine rollout has been sluggish in Russia
The vaccine rollout has been sluggish in Russia AFP / Dimitar DILKOFF