Every Picture Tells a Story: Mistrusting Vaccines

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The uptake of the current COVID vaccine is running at about 7% of the U.S. population. Pfizer is taking a significant write-off. After the pandemic, our trust in vaccinations has reached a nadir. It's a far cry from our behavior concerning smallpox in 1947 when, over eight days, over 4 million New Yorkers were vaccinated. Or compared to 1961, when 90% of the at-risk population got vaccinated against polio.

Fifteen hundred adults were surveyed by the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania in early October. The results are breathtaking, and not in a good way.

  • More than 20% believe getting COVID is safer than the vaccination.
  • 26% of respondents think Ivermectin is an effective treatment.
  • 12% of respondents believe vaccines contain toxins, and 16% continue to believe that childhood vaccinations result in autism.
  • 12% of those surveyed say it is true that mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 “cause cancer.”

Whether you consider our current times the new normal or the pre-pandemic normal, the majority of us have returned to our “normal.”

There is something of concern for everyone; maybe we should think of it as a societal form of PTSD. The belief that vaccines contain harmful “chemicals” and toxins, as well as the belief that they have been responsible for autism, has been debunked for years – yet we have a hardcore of individuals that remain unmoved in their misbeliefs, and that number is growing. An equally significant 20% of our population remains on “pandemic footing,” unable to break away from the grip of fear.

Much as tossing a pebble into a pond creates ripples that go out for some time, our experience of COVID continues to ripple through our thoughts. The carnage of nursing home deaths, the “harvesting” of the frail or sickly, the panic about having to wait to get that first vaccination, the daily drumbeats of rising COVID hospitalizations, and government press conferences all may be in our rearview mirrors. But the pandemic has left us with some psychic wounds, especially for shared values and beliefs. That impact will be felt for some time to come.


Source: Vaccine Confidence Falls as Belief in Health Misinformation Grows Annenberg Public Policy Center