As the global pandemic reaches its 1.5-year mark, issues surrounding COVID continue to divide Americans, especially in the face of vaccine mandates. A new poll revealed that up to 14% of fully vaccinated citizens have cut ties with friends over differing opinions on COVID vaccines.
Not the Bee reported that one in seven people have dumped their friends over varying opinions about the COVID vaccine. Among those who ended friendships over the vaccination narrative pushed by the Biden administration, 66% are vaccinated and 17% have no intention of getting inoculated.
The poll also showed that overall, 16% of Americans have ended friendships with at least three people since the beginning of 2020 for various reasons. In a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on September 2, results revealed that people ended friendships over cheating, lying, different political opinions, but also because of varying opinions on COVID vaccines.
According to the poll, "Fourteen percent of vaccinated respondents - about 1 in 7 - say they parted ways with friends who didn't want to get the vaccine." Even Jennifer Aniston recently admitted she cut ties with some friends because they did not share her opinion on COVID vaccines.
Simply put, "A full two-thirds of those who dumped friends are vaxxed and 14% of vaxxed people overall have ended relationships exclusively because their friends don't want to be jabbed."
Additionally, the poll found that 97% of vaccinated individuals consider their former friends to be "full-blown anti-vaxxers" and admitted that they could never get their ex-friends to understand the importance of the COVID vaccine. These vaccinated respondents added that their former friends did not want to get the COVID vaccine because they did not believe in it or claimed that it does not work, despite health authorities insisting that it does work and threatening vaccine mandates.
Meanwhile, unvaccinated folks said that they made a "personal choice" not to get vaccinated because they're "worried about potential side-effects." Some expressed distrust in the vaccine rollout while others concluded that they're healthy enough not to need the COVID shot.
"People are second-guessing some of their friendships and relationships based on how people behaved during the pandemic," marriage and family therapist Racine Henry told TODAY. "A lot of questions were called up around what your belief system is, how much of a conspiracy theorist a person might be or how someone can use critical thinking skills."
Political affiliations also play a huge role. According to the poll, 81% of Democrats were vaccinated versus 64% of Republicans, 69% of Independents, and 41% of third-party supporters. Only 7% of Democrats are unvaccinated, followed by 27% of third-party supporters, 23% of Republicans, and 20% of Independents.
"The pandemic has forced us to talk with our friends in new ways," Lydia Denworth, a science journalist who authored "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond" told Bustle.
Denworth argued that conversation about COVID exposure, risk, and comfort levels must be discussed in an open manner, in a way that boundaries are set clearly and in advance. Issues that must be hashed out include the decision to get vaccinated and how comfortable people are resuming their "normal" lives.
The author concluded, "This is going to be a time to navigate." Unfortunately for some whose friends and families do not see eye to eye about COVID vaccines, the pain of losing relationships will remain long after the pandemic ends.