Especially with the oft-touted central tenet of the conservative right being "personal responsibility" (something I agree with BTW). COVID was a powerful, and now lost, opportunity to demonstrate this.
Sad, because we desperately need to restore some degree of political balance. Behaving in a cooperative, responsible manner for the greater good - especially if that meant putting personal beliefs aside - would have been an incredible way to show character, leadership, build credibility, and help heal the political rifts that are tearing this nation, and even families apart. Instead, it's more "my way or the highway" ... straight to hell.
As for fear of the vaccine versus fear of the virus. It's like saying you're afraid of a smaller sub-component of a larger whole. Or, as a very crude and unscientific analogy: "I'll take my chances playing hand grenade catch, but no way I'll take one of those terrifying grenade pins they're handing out!"
Had a run-in today, but I am putting that in another post so as not to derail this one.