- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 9, 2021

One out of 10 Americans say their religious beliefs prohibit COVID-19 vaccinations, but 58% support religious exemptions to government mandates for vaccines, according to a new survey released Thursday.

The Religion and Vaccine Survey was organized by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core. It surveyed 5,366 people between Oct. 19 and Nov. 9 and found that 6 in 10 Americans say “too many” people are using religion as an excuse not to be vaccinated.

A similar 60% say there are “no valid religious reasons to refuse” a vaccine. The Public Religion Research Institute said such majorities held across “every major religious group,” with White evangelical Protestants as “the sole exception” at only 41%.

About 4 in 10 White evangelicals said they were planning to seek religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for themselves and/or their children.

“The wide berth allowed for the expression and practice of religions, codified in our Constitution and laws, are bedrock American principles,” Robert P. Jones, founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, said in a statement. “But Americans also believe that principles of religious liberty are not absolute but rather should be balanced with the health and well-being of our communities.”

“This survey also shows that religious interventions have worked,” said Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core. “When pastors encourage vaccination and mosques hold vaccine clinics, more people get vaccinated. Faith-based groups remain ready to play our role, but we need partners. If we are going to defeat the omicron variant, philanthropy, the private sector, and government will have to step up.”

Along with the 5,366 panelists drawn from an Ipsos database, “an additional 355 people who were recruited by Ipsos using opt-in survey panels to increase sample sizes in smaller states,” the polling groups said. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points at the 95% level of confidence.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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