Three in four people say COVID-19 vaccines effective and safer than getting virus

A national probability Annenberg Science Knowledge survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that about 15% of people are uncertain about the vaccine, but persuadable.

More than 259 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through May 10, 2021. As of May 5, 2021, well over half a million deaths—576,238 people—have been reported from COVID-19 in the United States.

Hand holding a blank COVID-19 vaccination card.

Yet public health officials have expressed concern that many U.S. communities may not be on track to reach the level of immunity required to halt the replication and hence the mutation of SARS-CoV-2. The rate at which Americans are being vaccinated is slowing. Faced with a lack of demand, some vaccine sites have closed. In some places, vaccines are going unused.

A national probability Annenberg Science Knowledge (ASK) survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted March 30-April 19, 2021, among 1,941 U.S. adults found that although much of the public rejects false information about the virus, a substantial number of people are uncertain whether to embrace or reject consequential forms of misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination against it. The percentages presented here combine those who consider a claim “probably” or “definitely” true as well as the percentages who consider a claim “probably” or “definitely” false. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points.

“The fact that three out of four adults accept as true that the authorized vaccines are effective and safer than getting COVID-19 is remarkable,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “Although the existence of 10-12% disbelievers is worrisome, in theory the 14-15% who are not sure are open to persuasion. Ensuring that those who believe in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines get the shots—and persuading those who are not sure that they, their loved ones, and their community will benefit from higher rates of vaccination—are the unfinished tasks of the public health community and those already vaccinated.”

Read more at Annenberg Public Policy Center.