1 in 10 Americans say 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 National Cathedral in Washington, to encourage faith communities to come together vaccinate against COVID.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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

A majority of Americans, 60%, also say there is no valid religious reason to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine – but the number changes when it comes to white evangelicals. While a majority of all other major religious groups say their faith does not include a valid reason to refuse 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 accessible to children. PRRI CEO and Founder Robert Jones said in a statement that the results show that many Americans believe religious freedom is not an “absolute” and that there should be a balance when it comes to religious freedom. community health.

There is still a division over religious vaccine exemptions

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

But 51% of Americans support granting a religious exemption if the person has documents from a religious leader stating that the vaccine goes against their religious beliefs.

Interestingly, if asked in the context of government mandating vaccinations, 58% of Americans say people should be allowed to have religious exemptions from the vaccine.

Religious leaders prove effective in encouraging vaccinations

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

“When pastors encourage vaccination and mosques hold 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 about Arizona Public Media.

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

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

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are the source of the clarity of our reporters’ coverage across the state, the stories that connect us, and the conversations that offer insight. Help ensure that MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.