1 in 10 Americans Says COVID Vaccine Conflicts With Their Religious Beliefs

A pastor received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in May, during a gathering of a group of interfaith clergy, community leaders and officials at the Washington National Cathedral, to encourage religious communities to come together. get vaccinated against COVID.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Only 10% of Americans think getting a COVID-19 vaccine conflicts with their religious beliefs, and 59% of Americans say too many people are using religious beliefs as an excuse not to get the vaccine, new survey finds from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).

A majority of Americans, 60%, also say there is no valid religious reason to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine – but the number is changing when it comes to white evangelicals. While a majority of all other major religious groups say their faith does not include a valid reason for refusing the vaccine, only 41% of white evangelicals believe the same.

The results of the survey – the most important for tracking the intersection of the pandemic and religious beliefs – could be crucial in understanding how to encourage more people in the United States to get vaccinated, especially as vaccines become more and more available for children. PRRI CEO and founder Robert Jones said in a statement that the results show that many Americans believe that religious freedom is not an “absolute” and that there should be a balance when it is. concerns the health of communities.

There is still a divide on religious exemptions from the vaccine

The question of whether religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine should be allowed has resulted in a more divided range of responses. Only 39% of Americans support a general religious exemption excuse, which means anyone who says the vaccine is against their faith doesn’t have to get it.

But 51% of Americans are in favor of granting a religious exemption if the person has documents from a religious leader saying the vaccine goes against their religious beliefs.

Interestingly, if the question were asked in the context of government making vaccination mandatory, 58% of Americans say people should be allowed to have religious exemptions from the vaccine.

Religious leaders prove to be effective in encouraging vaccinations

The survey also shows that it is quite effective when religious leaders talk about vaccines. More than 50 percent of those who said they regularly attend church services also said a faith-based approach encouraged them to get the vaccine.

“When pastors promote vaccination and mosques organize vaccination clinics, more people get vaccinated. Faith groups remain ready to play our part, but we need partners,” said the president and founder of the ‘IFYC, Eboo Patel.

“So many people in various religious communities believe that our bodies were created by God and we should cherish and protect them, and that we have an obligation to the common good, ”Patel told Megan Myscofski of Arizona Public Media.

A faith-based approach could also be an effective way to get more children immunized.

There is some evidence that faith-based approaches might encourage parents to have their children immunized. Only 16% of parents who are hesitant to get vaccinated or who refuse to have their children vaccinated say they would be influenced by a faith-based approach – and that number jumps to 29% for Christian parents of color.

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Ruth R. Culp