Faith-based approaches have boosted vaccine take-up - researchers

(Photo: Unsplash/Daniel Schludi)

Americans with a faith are becoming increasingly accepting of the Covid-19 vaccine, research has found. 

The study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) found that acceptance was up and hesitation down across nearly all religous and demographic subgroups in the US since March. 

Researchers attribute the shift to faith-based approaches encouraging people in the faith community to get vaccinated. 

The study looked at the views of 5,123 adults and found that at the end of June, the majority of Americans (71%) were accepting of the vaccine, including two-thirds (67%) who have had at least one dose, and another 4% who say they plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

In March, only 58% of Americans were accepting of the vaccine, meaning there has been a 13-point increase in support since then. 

Among the vaccinated who also attend religious services at least a few times a year, about a third (32%) say faith-based approaches made them more likely to get vaccinated. This rose to over half (54%) among vaccinated Hispanic Protestants and 42% among Black Protestants who regularly attend religious services. 

Even among those who are hesitant about the vaccine, there are signs that faith-based approaches can help with take-up.

Over four in 10 (44%) of Hispanic Protestants and over a quarter (28%) of white evangelicals with such concerns said that a faith-based approach would make them more likely to get vaccinated.

"The data is clear: faith-based approaches have been and will continue to be effective in convincing hesitant Americans to receive a Covid-19 vaccine," said IFYC founder and president Eboo Patel.

"Beyond hesitancy, our survey reveals that logistical barriers to vaccine access—such as concerns about time off work or a lack of transportation or childcare—remain obstacles for many," said PRRI CEO and founder Robert P Jones.

"Religious congregations can be key players in addressing both hesitancy and these barriers to access that disproportionately impact communities of color, many of whom are otherwise receptive to getting vaccinated."