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Expand chart
Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

An alarming amount of vaccine-hesitant people who list side effects as a top concern falsely believe the vaccines cause death, DNA alteration, infertility or birth defects, according to recent Harris polling.

Why it matters: Respondents also listed blood clots, which are a real side effect of some coronavirus vaccines, but extremely rare. This survey suggests that misinformation or a skewed understanding of risk may be behind a sizable portion of vaccine hesitancy.

Between the lines: The survey drilled down into the concerns of respondents who said they are "not likely" to get a vaccine, specifically the 25% who cited being worried about side effects as one of their top reasons for not getting vaccinated.

Details: Awareness of blood clots increases with age, per the survey.

  • While only 37% of Gen Z respondents said they think the vaccine causes blood clots, 81% of Boomers — or people 57 and older — said the same.
  • Technically, these respondents are right — some coronavirus vaccines have been linked to blood clots, but in very few cases. It's unclear how worried the respondents are about blood clots, but if the side effects they're most aware of are also the ones they're most concerned about, they're probably way overestimating the risk.

About half of Gen Z respondents accurately listed flu-like symptoms as side effects, compared with 65% of Boomers.

  • But the generational gap in the number of people who inaccurately listed other side effects shrunk. For example, 24% of Gen Z respondents cited infertility, and 20% of Boomers said the same.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 24, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. can get control of pandemic by spring if vaccinations rise

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a March Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Monday the U.S. could "start getting back to a degree of normality" by next spring if more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Yes but: "There's no guarantee, because it's up to us," Fauci said in his interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, noting that another variant could emerge unless the current surge is brought under control.

Cruise lines step up pandemic protocols as Delta rages

The Carnival Cruise Line ship Mardi Gras departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, in July. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Cruise lines are tightening pandemic protocols as the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges globally, with Carnival Cruise Line the latest to tighten vaccine requirements.

Why it matters: Cruise ships were a coronavirus epicenter early in the pandemic, and the CDC advised last Friday that people at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus should avoid traveling on cruises.