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The Annenberg Public Policy Center on Oct. 19. Credit: Riley Guggenhime

An Annenberg Public Policy Center survey found that heavy users of conservative media would take ivermectin — a drug not approved for treating COVID-19 — if they were exposed to the virus.

The APPC surveyed 1,669 participants to find that four in 10 Americans — and seven in 10 heavy users of conservative media — would take the drug despite warnings from the FDA, APPC reported. While the drug can treat parasitic conditions in small doses, according to the FDA, current data has not shown that it is safe or effective against COVID-19.

The survey’s data is part of the Annenberg Science Knowledge survey, an APPC public opinion research project that aims to answer questions in the field of science communication. The APPC conducted a series of these surveys investigating the spread of COVID-19-related misinformation and vaccine hesitancy beginning in April 2020

Participants who self-reported that they were heavy users of “very conservative” media sources such as Newsmax or One American News were also less likely to trust health authorities, APPC reported. Of these participants, 31% expressed confidence in Chief Medical Advisor to the President Anthony Fauci, and 59% in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — compared to 87% and 90% of mainstream media users surveyed. 

The survey also revealed that 18% of participants say that they are not likely to get vaccinated, with 10% of the total sample adding that nothing would change their mind, APPC reported. The majority of respondents reported that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Among the survey participants, 25% said that they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine, down from 30% in a previous ASK survey in June.

Penn recently announced that 99% of undergraduate students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the positivity rate across the University has remained below 0.50% for over a month. Penn requires all students to be vaccinated for in-person instruction, with exceptions provided only for medical or religious reasons.