We asked respondents to mark four popular vaccine misinformation claims as true or false. When in doubt, they could also select “Not sure.” Here are some of the patterns we found:
- While we observe a decline in believing misinformation since the early days of COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 2021, 16% of Americans still hold vaccine misperceptions. Close to half (46%) are uncertain about the veracity of at least one vaccine misinformation statement.
- People aged 25 to 44, parents with children under 18, Americans who did not go to college, and Republicans are most likely to hold vaccine misperceptions, with over 20% of the respondents in each group marking at least one misinformation statement as true.
- Early in the pandemic, people with high socioeconomic status were amongst the most likely to hold vaccine misperceptions. Over time,people with graduate degrees and those with high income made large shifts towards rejecting misinformation. The groups least likely to espouse false claims now include graduate degree holders, Democrats, Asian Americans, and those over 65 years of age.
- A third of the people who believe vaccine misinformation statements are aware that scientific and medical experts reject those claims as false. Additionally, over a fifth of Americans (21%) are aware that science considers a particular claim to be false, but still say they are not sure whether to believe it or not.
- People who think they know a lot about COVID-19 vaccines are more likely to hold vaccine misperceptions. Among those who claimed to have expert knowledge, 48% believed false claims compared to only 16% of those who said they knew almost nothing about vaccines.
- Compared to those with no vaccine misperceptions, Americans who believe misinformation claims are less likely to trust the government, news media, science, and medicine. That pattern is reversed with regard to trust in Fox News and Donald Trump.
- Vaccine misinformation beliefs, uncertainty about false claims, trust in government and science remain among the most important predictors of getting vaccinated, even after accounting for demographic and other factors
graduate degrees and those with high income made large shifts towards
rejecting misinformation. The groups least likely to espouse false claims now
include graduate degree holders, Democrats, Asian Americans, and those
over 65 years of age.