Correcting COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation in Ten Countries

May 4, 2022

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What can be done to reduce misperceptions about COVID-19 vaccines? We present results from experiments conducted simultaneously on YouGov samples in ten countries (N= 10,600), which reveal that factual corrections consistently reduce false belief about the vaccines. Globally, exposure to corrections increases belief accuracy by .16 on a 4-point scale, while exposure to misinformation decreases belief accuracy by .09 on the same scale. Neither misinformation nor factual corrections affect intent-to-vaccinate or vaccine attitudes. We finnd modest evidence that the effects of fact-checks endure, with 39% of the original correction exposure in the direction of greater accuracy still detectable two weeks after initial exposure. These findings illustrate both the possibilities and limitations of factual corrections. Across ten highly diverse populations, exposure to factual information reliably reduces belief in falsehoods about vaccines, but has minimal influence on subsequent behaviors and attitudes.

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