The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is a source of hope as well as an enormous challenge in the midst of a global pandemic. Religiously diverse communities are active contributors to this important national project, understanding the need to work within and across communities for the common good. One of the most pressing challenges in vaccination is the lack of access to and trust for the vaccine among many American communities. Religiously diverse communities have a unique opportunity to promote vaccine trust and access – a national imperative which will increase vaccine uptake and save lives across the country.

National Research on Faith & Vaccines:

On July 28, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) released findings from the second wave of their national polling on religion and COVID-19. The study revealed that faith-based approaches have contributed to increases in vaccine acceptance since March and continue to hold promise for persuading some vaccine hesitants and refusers. Key insights include:

  • A majority of Hispanic Protestants who are vaccinated and attend religious services (54%) say one or more faith-based approaches encouraged them to get vaccinated. The same is true for one in four church-going white evangelical Protestants (26%) and white Catholics (25%).
  • Even among vaccine refusers, faith-based approaches could be persuasive, with nearly one-fifth of vaccine refusers (19%) saying one or more faith-based approaches would make them more likely to get vaccinated.
  • Logistical barriers to vaccination still exist for substantial portions of Black, Hispanic, and younger Americans. These barriers include not having time to get vaccinated or deal with possible side effects of vaccination, preexisting health conditions, and lack of access to childcare.

Read IFYC and PRRI’s July 2021 report on American attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccine through the lens of religion, politics, and racial/ethnic identities or access the April 2021 report here.

Trainings & Tools

IFYC has developed a library of trainings, tools, and resources to support faith-based vaccine outreach across the country.

Get the Playbook

This national playbook provides guidance on concrete actions, messages, and strategies to engage religiously diverse communities in faith-based vaccine outreach.

get playbook

Get Trained

Access IFYC's library of training videos and other virtual tools to equip leaders for effective faith-based vaccine outreach.

get training

Faith in the Vaccine Outreach Programs

IFYC is launching a series of programs designed to leverage the skills of interfaith leadership for vaccine outreach: 

Faith in the Vaccine on Campus:

Mobilizing college students on campuses across the country to address vaccine hesitancy and access in their local communities. This program equips, engages, and resources college students to be leaders for vaccine outreach in innovative, culturally sensitive ways. See our campus cohorts here.

Alumni Vaccine Network:

Activating IFYC’s alumni network, young leaders trained in the skills of interfaith leadership. This program coordinates young professionals to engage vaccine outreach within their personal and professional spheres, including religious, educational, medical, and civic professional networks.

Faith in the Vaccine in Chicago:

Networking faith-based and faith-inspired community organizations in Chicago to navigate vaccine access and trust issues locally. This program networks, equips, and resources community leaders to work on the ground in highly local ways to support their community in vaccination. See our Chicago program participants here.

Faith and Public Health Alumni

Anu Gorukanti

Hindu & Buddhist - Los Altos, CA

As a pediatrician, Anu is deeply committed to ensuring the patients she serves have equitable access to the vaccine and access to accurate, scientifically-based information in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. She plans to develop virtual town halls to discuss vaccinations for the pediatric population.

Irshad Osman

Muslim – Ontario, Canada

Irshad partners with local and provincial governments to develop religiously sensitive messages for Muslims who have questions about vaccination, help multiservice agencies apply for funding, and train civic ambassadors to counter rumors and misinformation.

Alexis Kassim

Christian – Alexandria, VA

Alexis Kassim has been working to encourage African-Americans to register for vaccination and has also helped to create a rideshare program to get people to their appointments. She hopes to expand the reach to undocumented communities and new congregations.

Anastasia Young

Christian – Minneapolis, MN

As an RN, Anastasia speaks with patients about their interest in receiving the vaccines as well as how to schedule their appointments. Anastasia hopes to create a one-page, easy reference guide for providers to support empathetic, curious engagement with patients who have concerns about the vaccines.

 
 
 

FAITH AND VACCINE IN THE NEWS

Collin Reynolds
- September 20, 2021
To effectively communicate with people about the vaccine, we first must build personal relationships based on trust. 
Ruya Maredia
- September 20, 2021
Communication has been vital, as we post statistics and general information about vaccines, variants, and how to be protected and safe all around.
Sophia Garza
- September 20, 2021
It is incredibly empowering to know that by protecting yourself, you can protect so many other people.  The Lord gave us the knowledge and people we need in order to defeat COVID-19.
Komal Gandhi
- September 20, 2021
"99.8% of U.S. deaths are of the unvaccinated. If you heard of an airline of that percentage dying, whereas a 0.02% on another, you’re switching flights." -- Dr. Jimmie Smith, Macon-Bibb County Health Department, Georgia.
Silma Suba
article - September 16, 2021
Organizing on-campus vaccination clinics, calling thousands of students, hosting informational webinars with medical experts – these are some of the ways in which IFYC’s Faith in the Vaccine Ambassadors (FIVA) have been raising awareness around the COVID-19 vaccine on campuses and high-need communities across the nation.
Colleen Long And Andrew Demillo
article - September 16, 2021
Religious objections, once used sparingly around the country to get exempted from various required vaccines, are becoming a much more widely used loophole against the COVID-19 shot.
Shauna Morin
article - September 14, 2021
The following interview features Dr. Toby Bressler, senior director of nursing for oncology and clinical quality at the Mount Sinai Health System and vice president of the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association.
Janett I. Cordovés
article - August 30, 2021
Este artículo es parte de una serie llamada Fe en el Campo que explora las respuestas al Covid-19 – incluyendo esfuerzos de vacunación – en diferentes comunidades de fe.
Claire Giangravé and Jack Jenkins
- August 18, 2021
“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” the pope wrote.
Neil Agarwal
- August 9, 2021
As more companies and institutions impose vaccine mandates, many now struggle to process and evaluate requests for religious exemptions. The following resources provide background and context for these ongoing conversations and decisions.
Monique Parsons
- August 9, 2021
Many private businesses, hospital systems and universities that require COVID-19 vaccines also offer religious exemptions. But with no consistent method for navigating these requests — or defining the terms, for that matter — leaders are scrambling to respond.
Multiple Authors
- August 4, 2021
On July 28, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) released findings from the second wave of national polling on religion and COVID-19. The study revealed that vaccine acceptance has increased since March, and findings suggest faith-based approaches contributed to this change.
Shauna Morin
- July 29, 2021
In many ways, the wisdom shared through these interviews—mirrored in the PRRI-IFYC data released this week—illuminates the importance of religiously and culturally competent strategies in our ongoing efforts to get people vaccinated.
Monique Parsons, Managing Editor, and Silma Suba, Staff Writer
article - July 29, 2021
Thirty-two percent of vaccinated Americans reported in June that a faith-based approach made them more likely to get vaccinated, according to the survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).   
Jim Salter
- July 22, 2021
Across Missouri, hundreds of pastors, priests and other church leaders are reaching out to urge vaccinations in a state under siege from the delta variant. Health experts say the spread is due largely to low vaccination rates — Missouri lags about 10 percentage points behind the national average for people who have initiated shots.
Emily McFarlan Miller
- July 22, 2021
The solution, said Chris Palusky, president and CEO of Bethany Christian Services, is “the loving care of a family, not another orphanage.” He pointed to Scripture passages that say God sets the lonely in families and call on Christians to care for those who have been orphaned.
Shauna Morin
- July 22, 2021
The following interview features Debra Fraser-Howze, founder and president of Choose Healthy Life, an initiative that fortifies community infrastructure to better address the pandemic in Black communities. The interview was conducted by Shauna Morin for IFYC; it has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Renée Roden
article - July 21, 2021
Besides demanding equitable distribution of vaccines, the Interfaith Vigil for Global COVID-19 Vaccine Access called on the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property rights for vaccine manufacturing in order to enable more countries to produce COVID-19 vaccines domestically.
Elizabeth Welliver Hengen
article - July 19, 2021
Yet the debate about the vaccine in Tennessee is not solely a debate about science. Rather, I believe the vaccine debate is also a referendum on our public capacity to embrace vulnerability.
Lev and Sivan Kotler-Berkowitz
article - July 14, 2021
Sivan and I feel that it is crucial to work for increased vaccination rates, particularly with more transmissible and potentially more deadly variants emerging across the country and throughout the world.
Dominique Grate
article - July 14, 2021
We made calls to friends, disseminated flyers, engaged in social media marketing, partnered with faith-based communities, and engaged the local health department to encourage members of our community to come to our upcoming clinic and get vaccinated.