Public trust in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines has increased — but trust in Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has declined, a new poll shows.
Despite vaccination rates lagging, 78 percent of Americans said they believe it is “definitely or probably true” that the shots are effective in preventing the coronavirus — up from 74 percent in April, according to the Annenberg Science Knowledge survey released this week.
In addition, 76 percent of the public believes it is “definitely or probably true” that it’s safer to get the vaccine than to become ill from COVID.
The number of people who say is “definitely true” grew to 54 percent from 49 percent in April.
But while trust in the actual jabs has improved, trust in Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has led the response to the pandemic, has declined — although it remains high.
Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they are “confident” in the advice given by Fauci — down from the 71 percent who said so in April, but on par with the 68 percent of respondents in August 2020.
Instead, Americans place the most confidence, according to the poll, in their primary health care provider — at 83 percent.
Meanwhile, trust in the US agencies in charge of the vaccines has increased.
Seventy-six percent of Americans said they have confidence that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing “trustworthy information” about the coronavirus — up slightly from 75 percent in April and 72 percent last August.
The Food and Drug Administration, which approved the emergency use of the vaccines, also got high marks from Americans, with 77 percent confident that it is supplying “trustworthy information” about how to treat and prevent COVID.
In April, 75 percent said they had confidence in the FDA and 71 percent said they did in August 2020.
Asked about the origins of the deadly virus, 35 percent said they believe the Chinese government developed the coronavirus as a biological weapon, while 42 percent disagreed and 23 percent were uncertain.
That’s a slight increase from the 31 percent who thought it was created as a bioweapon in April.
Asked about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, 30 percent said the virus was deliberately leaked from the lab, 33 percent said it “accidentally escaped through carelessness or incompetence” and 13 percent said it did not originate there.
Thirty-four percent said they didn’t know.
As for the vaccines, 70 percent of the respondents said they’ve been inoculated, up from 47 percent in April, and 30 percent said they haven’t been vaccinated.
Of those who said they were not likely to be vaccinated, 61 percent said the vaccine needs more testing, 44 percent said they feared side effects, 43 percent cited distrust in the government, 36 said they didn’t trust the vaccine makers, and 32 percent said they are “just not concerned” with COVID.
The poll surveyed 1,719 adults between June 2 and June 22. It has a plus/minus 3.2 percentage-point margin of error.