Public trust in CDC, FDA, and Fauci holds steady, survey shows

With more than two-thirds of American adults vaccinated with at least one dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine, the top U.S. health agencies retain the trust of the vast majority of the American public, as does Anthony Fauci, the public face of U.S. efforts to combat the virus, according to a new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Anthony Fauci speaking at a podium with an American flag in the background.
NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Image: NIAID

The survey reveals growing public confidence in both the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

But after months of attacks on Fauci in conservative and social media, the survey finds that people who said they rely on conservative and very conservative media rather than other sources were more likely to have less confidence in Fauci’s trustworthiness on COVID-19 and more likely to accept misinformation about him and misinformation and conspiracy theories about the authorized COVID-19 vaccines and the novel coronavirus.

The survey also finds that a growing number of Americans—more than 1 in 3—believes that the coronavirus was created by the Chinese government as a biological weapon.

“Our analysis of the data shows that there is good news and bad news here,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “Those who underestimate the lethality of COVID-19 or the safety of COVID-19 vaccination are less likely to accept a COVID-19 vaccination. The same is true of those who believe COVID-19 conspiracy theories. By contrast, those who trust health authorities are more likely to seek vaccination. Deceptive messages that undermine trust in a health expert such as Dr. Fauci are deeply worrisome.”

Read more at Annenberg Public Policy Center.