Belief in misinformation about key health issues persists among a good chunk of adults, with false claims about COVID-19, vaccines and reproductive health garnering a substantial amount of support, a new poll from KFF has found.
Whether or not they believed the claims, nearly all participants in the survey were aware of the misinformation with 96 percent saying they had heard at least one of the 10 claims presented to them. The most widespread misinformation claims had to do with COVID-19 and vaccines.
The new polling data found that a third of adults believed the COVID-19 vaccines “caused thousands of sudden deaths in otherwise healthy people,” with 10 percent believing that claim to be “definitely true” and 23 percent saying it was “probably true.” Another 34 percent said it was “probably false” and 31 percent said that claim was “definitely false.”
Nearly a third of people also said they believed the parasitic deworming medication ivermectin was an “effective treatment for COVID-19.” Among the naysayers, 44 percent said that claim was “probably false” and 22 percent said it was “definitely false.”
Health experts and clinicians have repeated stressed that there is no evidence that ivermectin has any efficacy in treating or preventing COVID-19 infections, and the Food and Drug Administration has never authorized the drug for use in treating the coronavirus.
In the same poll, roughly a quarter of people said they believed vaccinations against measles, mumps and rubella caused autism in children and that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility. No evidence has so far been found to indicate that immunization against SARS-CoV-2 affects male or female fertility.