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CDC, FDA among agencies facing lack of public trust: poll

CDC, FDA among agencies facing lack of public trust: poll
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are among a number of federal and local health agencies facing a lack of public trust, according to a poll released Thursday.

The survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that the public has a higher amount of trust in health care workers over public health institutions.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they had a “great deal or quite a lot” of trust in the CDC, while 25 percent said they somewhat trust the agency. Twenty percent of respondents said they have little to no trust in the agency. 

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Other federal agencies did not receive the trust of a majority of the public.

Only 37 percent of those surveyed said they had a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the FDA, while 38 percent said they somewhat trusted the regulator. Twenty-four percent said they didn’t have much confidence, or any confidence, in the agency.

Thirty-seven percent also expressed a great deal of trust in the National Institutes of Health (NIH); 40 percent said the same for the surgeon general. And 33 percent of respondents had strong trust in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey comes more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic which abruptly changed the lives of many Americans. The nation’s response has been impacted due to confusing and contradictory messaging and the political climate during the 2020 presidential election.

But the low levels of trust aren’t just at the federal level. Only 44 percent of respondents expressed strong trust in their local health departments, and 41 percent said as much for their state health departments.

By comparison, the poll found that 71 percent of those surveyed had a lot of confidence in nurses, while 67 percent said as much for doctors. Seventy percent indicated a high level of confidence in health care workers they know.

The poll surveyed 1,305 adults from Feb. 11-March 15. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.