A recent poll released by KFF (formerly Kaiser Family Foundation) of San Francisco, California on Aug. 22, 2023 found that one-third of adults in the United States believe that the COVID-19 shots “caused thousands of sudden deaths in otherwise healthy people.” Ten percent of that one-third believe it is “definitely true” that the shots killed thousands of healthy people, and 23 percent think it is “probably true.” Among the remainder of those surveyed, 34 percent believe the claim is “probably false,” and 31 percent think it is “definitely false.”1 2
The poll found that about a quarter of adults in the U.S. believe that the COVID shots cause infertility and that the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine causes autism in children. The poll also found that one-third of adults in the U.S. believe the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin is an “effective treatment for COVID-19,” while 44 percent believe the claim is “probably false” and 22 percent think it is “definitely false.”1 2
The results of the KFF poll suggest that a sizeable minority of adults in the U.S. definitely believe that the COVID shots and MMR shots have harmed the health of many Americans. But the data also suggests that most adults are uncertain about this and belong to a so-called “malleable middle,” who say the claims are “probably” true or “probably” false.1 2
Rasmussen Poll: Nearly Half of Adults in America Blame COVID Shots for Death of Thousands
The finding by KFF that a solid number of Americans believe that the COVID shots have caused the deaths of thousands of people is consistent with a survey of 1,000 people conducted during Dec. 28-30, 2022 and published on Jan. 2, 2023 by polling company Rasmussen Reports, which found that 49 percent of adults in the U.S. think that COVID shots have caused a significant number of unexplained deaths. Of those, more than half think it is “very likely” the shots caused the deaths.3 4
Less than a week prior to the start of Rasmussen’s poll, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that it had received 18,007 reports through its Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) of people, who died after getting a COVID shot. By Jan. 4, 2023, the number of deaths linked to COVID shots reported to VAERS had risen to 18,533.5
In the Rasmussen poll, 77 percent of adults who had not been vaccinated for COVID thought it was at least somewhat likely COVID shots had caused a significant number of unexplained deaths. Perhaps more interestingly, 38 percent of adults who had received a COVID shot thought that the shots were at least somewhat likely to have caused many unexplained deaths.4
Rasmussen also reported that 28 percent of adults said they personally knew someone whose death they believe may have been caused by the COVID shots, and 48 percent said they believe there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the safety of the COVID shots.4
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1 Choi J. A third of adults believe COVID-19 vaccines caused thousands of sudden deaths: poll. The Hill Aug. 22, 2023.
2 Lopes L et al. KFF Health Misinformation Tracking Poll Pilot. KFF Aug. 22, 2023.
3 Miller K. People are blaming COVID vaccines for sudden deaths and more. Here’s why experts say it’s harmful. Yahoo! Life Jan. 10, 2023.
4 Rasmussen Reports. ‘Died Suddenly’? More Than 1-in-4 Think Someone They Know Died From COVID-19 Vaccines. Jan. 2, 2023.
5 Goldin M. Posts mischaracterize CDC data on COVID-19 vaccine deaths. The Associated Press Jan. 11, 2023.