37% of unvaccinated Americans think COVID vaccines are riskier than virus, poll finds

·2 min read

Many Americans who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 think the vaccines are more dangerous than the virus.

A Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted July 13-15 and released Tuesday found more unvaccinated Americans think the COVID-19 vaccines pose the greater risk to their personal health than think the coronavirus poses the greater risk. Health experts, however, have emphasized that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

The poll included 1,715 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Overall, 61% of respondents said the coronavirus poses a greater risk to their personal health than the COVID-19 vaccines, while 18% said the vaccines pose a greater risk than the coronavirus and 21% said they are not sure.

But when broken down by vaccination status, the poll found 29% of respondents who are not vaccinated think the virus poses the greater risk and 37% think the vaccines pose the greater risk. Another 34% said they are not sure.

Meanwhile, 84% of vaccinated Americans think the virus poses the greater risk, 5% think the vaccines pose the greater risk and 11% are unsure.

The findings varied, however, when respondents were asked about the risks posed to America as a whole.

Sixty-four percent of respondents overall said the virus poses the greater risk to America, while 15% said vaccines pose the greater risk.

Among unvaccinated respondents, 37% said the virus poses the greater risk to America and 28% said the vaccines pose the greater risk. Meanwhile, 83% of vaccinated Americans say the virus poses the greater risk and 5% said the vaccines do, the poll found.

Health officials and experts have repeatedly said the COVID-19 vaccines are “safe and effective.”

“COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. “The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.”

The CDC says that any “serious types of health problems” after vaccination are rare and that long-term side effects are “extremely unlikely” following the COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccination.

“Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for emergency use by FDA,” the CDC says. “These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.”

It’s possible, although rare, to contract COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. But an Associated Press analysis of government data found “nearly all” coronavirus-related deaths are now among people who aren’t vaccinated — a “demonstration of” the effectiveness of the vaccines.

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