As public health experts worry about the blocking of a vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the United States, a new investigation suggests that they don’t have to worry about American Jews.
Jews have the lowest levels of “reluctance” to vaccinate of any religious group in the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the Institute for Research on Public Religion, with 85% of them vaccinated or planning to be vaccinated, compared to 71% of all Americans.
The willingness of most Jews to be vaccinated against the deadly virus has remained remarkably consistent since it became widely available in early spring. While all other faith groups polled by PRRI have seen at least a 10% increase in the number of vaccine “acceptors” since March, the share of Jews wanting to be vaccinated has not budged over the past four years. last months.
“This is an indication that there is a cap,” said Natalie Jackson, research director at PRRI. “85% may be the most we can get by asking people to get vaccinated voluntarily. “
The only change among American Jews between March and June, when the survey was conducted, was among the 15% of Jews not interested in the vaccine, with the proportion who say they will refuse to be vaccinated even if they do. it is mandatory increasing from 5% to 7%.
Some Jews, including some in the Orthodox community, fear receiving the vaccine due to unfounded rumors that they are causing infertility.
“Fears about the vaccine and fertility have spread through the Orthodox community like wildfire,” Dr. Bat-Sheva Lerner Maslow told The New York Times in June.
But many Jewish leaders have been strong advocates of vaccination and have used their real and virtual chairs to encourage their followers to get vaccinated.
RELATED: Rise of Delta Variation Pushes Bay Area Jewish Groups to Change Course
Rabbi Micah Peltz, who wrote an editorial in January, calling the Covid-19 vaccine a “Jewish imperative,” said he was encouraged by the PRRI data.
“That’s what I was hoping for,” said Peltz, who runs Temple Beth Sholom in southern New Jersey.
There was a significant growth in vaccine acceptance among some faith communities between March and June, including Hispanic Catholics – 80% were ready to be vaccinated in June, up from 56% three months earlier – and Protestants black, with 66% open to vaccine. in June, an increase of 49% compared to June.
Jackson said this showed that most people who said they were waiting for more information before getting the vaccine were sincere and that educating religious leaders can make a significant difference.
“If a religious organization sets up an information forum and says, ‘We trust these people to come and tell you the truth about these vaccines,’ that says something,” Jackson said. “It’s a greater source of confidence than seeing an ad on television. “
Peltz said he was vaccinated in January as part of an effort by a local hospital system to provide the vaccines to the clergy in the hopes that it would make other members of the community more comfortable with them. vaccines. He said most of the 800 families at Beth Sholom Temple were anxious to get vaccinated, and the synagogue planned to require proof of vaccination to attend high holiday services in September, both for safety reasons and as a declaration of values.
“It sends a very important message,” Peltz said. “If we think of vaccination as a mitzvah, which I am doing, then we should be clear about it. “
The White House fell right next to it a goal of vaccinating at least 70% of American adults by July 4, which epidemiologists say would help create herd immunity and stop the spread of Covid-19. The disease had ebbed but increased in recent weeks, especially in areas of the country where vaccination rates are lower, largely due to the emergence of the highly infectious delta variant.
The PRRI study, which was published Tuesday, interviewed 5,851 people, including 142 Jews. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.65 percentage points for the entire survey. Jackson said the PRRI did not take into account variables beyond religion, such as political affiliation or level of education, which could explain the high vaccination rate among Jews.