Sifting through what was true and what was false became increasingly challenging. As a result, it seems that some have absorbed misinformation about the virus that has killed 5 million people globally.
The KKF conducted a survey between October 14-24, 2021, and spoke to 1,519 adults aged 18 and older (including interviews from 309 Hispanic adults and 305 non-Hispanic Black adults). These randomly contacted participants all lived in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
Interestingly, it turns out that 94% of those who declared to vote Republican believe at least one falsehood about COVID-19. This outlines the need for better communication between businesses, institutions, and the public.
Despite the efforts of social media platforms to flag misinformation, it seems that it has spread quickly through Republican voters.
In fact, 48% of Republicans are unsure or believe between one and three false statements, and 46% believe or are unsure about four or more falsehoods.
The false claims that are believed include the US government “is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths”, that “pregnant women should not get the COVID-19 vaccine”, and “deaths due to the COVID-19 vaccine are being intentionally hidden by the government”.
Republicans are not alone in these thoughts, 62% of Democrats and 79% of independents also believe COVID-19 falsities.
In total, 78% of Americans believe in a falsehood around COVID-19 according to this study. However, Republicans were significantly more likely to believe false information.
With this amount of belief in misinformation, it is understandable that vaccine mandates have been met with significant backlash.
On the back of New York City mandating vaccines for municipal workers, there were shortages in staff.
Additionally, Louisiana Federal Court managed to pause the mandate implemented by President Joe Biden that meant every company with over 100 people had to regularly test employees for COVID-19 or vaccinate them.
Evidently, there is a need to be conversations between employers and staff about the benefits of vaccines and the dangers of COVID-19.
Speaking about what employers could do, Dorit Reiss told UNLEASH: “If they [employees] are concerned, give them access to credible experts maybe arrange a panel to ask questions about the vaccine”.
Reiss also recommended making sure that staff had time to get vaccines and information about the inoculation.
It is also worth remembering that while the mandate is debated, those who do not get vaccines and refuse regular tests can be legally fired.
Reiss noted: “It is legal to fire workers that do not comply [with vaccine mandates] with the workplace. In fact, if they are fired, because they didn’t comply, they’re fired for cause and they’re not going to get unemployment insurance.”
Sign up to the UNLEASH Newsletter
Get the Editor’s picks of the week delivered straight to your inbox!