PRRI/IFYC Survey Finds Faith-Based Interventions Have Helped Adults, Could Help with Children Getting Vaccinated

New York, NY - March 5, 2021: Nurse administers vaccine into arm of the patient at community-based pop-up vaccination site at Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem. By Lev Radin, Shutterstock.

More than half of Americans who attend religious services regularly say that a faith-based approach helped them decide to get vaccinated, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), the largest study on religion and COVID-19 to date.  

A vast majority of Americans (77%) are now vaccine acceptant, and the survey reveals that among religious groups there has been an overall increase in vaccination status. For example, nearly half of vaccinated Latter-Day Saints (46%) and a majority of those who attend religious services regularly (54%) say that faith-based approaches helped them make the decision to get vaccinated.  

The findings are a part of Wave 3 of the Religion and the Vaccine Survey, expanding on findings from June 2021 and March 2021. Based on 5,721 responses from across the country, the study unveils new insights on COVID-19 vaccination mandates, religious exemptions, and trends in vaccine hesitancy and acceptance. 

“This survey also shows that religious interventions have worked,” IFYC president and founder Eboo Patel said. “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.” 

Key survey findings on religious affiliation and vaccine acceptance:    

1. Jewish Americans are most likely to be vaccine accepters (94%), up from 85% in June and March. 

2. Among parents who say they are hesitant or will refuse to get their children vaccinated, 16% report that one or more of five tested faith-based approaches could convince them to get their children vaccinated. 

3. Among parents who say they are hesitant or will refuse to get their children vaccinated, white Christian parents (12%) are less likely than Christian parents of color (30%) to say one or more religious approaches could positively influence their decision. 

4. Even though white evangelical Protestants remain the religious group with the lowest percentage of vaccine accepters, they have steadily grown more acceptant, from 45% in March to 65% in November. 

5. Nearly half of vaccinated Latter-Day Saints (46%) and a majority of those who attend religious services regularly (54%) say that faith-based approaches helped them make the decision to get vaccinated. 

6. Fewer Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics are vaccine refusers – especially compared to other religious groups.  Overall, the proportions of religious groups that say they will not get vaccinated have held steady since March.   But vaccine refusal is dropping significantly among Black Protestants (7% in November, from 19% in March) and Hispanic Catholics (4% in November, from 10% in March). 

7. White evangelical Protestants who are more frequent church attenders (61%) are less likely than infrequent church attenders (73%) to be vaccine acceptant. Both groups have increased in acceptance since March (43% and 48%, respectively).

8. About eight in 10 white Catholics (82%, up from 68% in March), other Christians (81%, up from 64% in March), other non-Christians (79%, up from 64% in March), the religiously unaffiliated (79%, up from 60% in March), and white mainline Protestants (76%, up from 63% in March) are also vaccine accepters, as are about two-thirds of other Protestants of color (67%, up from 45% in March). 

#Interfaith is a self-paced, online learning opportunity designed to equip a new generation of leaders with the awareness and skills to promote interfaith cooperation online. The curriculum is free to Interfaith America readers; please use the scholarship code #Interfaith100. #Interfaith is presented by IFYC in collaboration with


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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.