Can Vaccine Confidence Recover
According to a new poll from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, vaccine confidence has significantly decreased over the past two years.
This health survey, announced today, found that the number of Americans who think vaccines approved for use are safe dropped to 71% from 77% in April 2021.
About 63% of people surveyed say it is safer to get a COVID-19 vaccine than to get the disease, a significant drop from 77% in November 2021. And the number of people who say it is false to state that COVID-19 vaccines are safer than the disease is up to 21%, more than doubling from 10% in April 2021.
Additionally, the percentage of adults who didn’t think vaccines approved in the U.S. were safe grew to 16% from 9%.
Furthermore, the public has widely varying opinions about the safety of individual vaccines.
Several vaccines asked about being perceived as less safe today than in August 2022.
For example, the MMR and pneumonia vaccines are considered less safe than in the earlier survey.
Beliefs in the safety of individual vaccines range from 81% for the long-established vaccines for seasonal influenza to 50% for the vaccine approved in August 2023 for pregnant women to protect their infants from respiratory syncytial virus.
“There are warning signs in these data that we ignore at our peril,” commented Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and survey director, in a press release on November 1, 2023.
“Growing numbers now distrust health-protecting, life-saving vaccines.”
In addition, many people are unaware annual flu shots cannot give you influenza.
Half of those surveyed (51%) know that the seasonal flu shot cannot give you the flu, while 29% think that is false.
As this flu season gets underway, various influenza vaccines are available at local pharmacies, which are staffed by pharmacists most Americans trust to help them make health product decisions.
Recent research released by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health revealed that pharmacists in the U.S. are well-trusted by patients. Nearly 80% of patients see pharmacists as a critical component of their healthcare team.
For the 2023-2024 flu season, flu shot availability is not a concern.
As of October 21, 2023, 142.16 million doses had been distributed in the U.S. Last flu season, about 173 million influenza vaccines were distributed in the U.S.
The full, unedited survey results are posted at this link.