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

Shauna Morin
article - July 12, 2021
La siguiente entrevista presenta a Anthony Cruz Pantojas, copresidente de la Alianza Humanista Latinx, afiliada de la Asociación Humanista Americana. La entrevista fue realizada por Shauna Morin para IFYC; ha sido editada y resumida por motivos de claridad.
Kathryn Post
- July 1, 2021
“Dr. Fauci embodies humanist values, including his steadfast commitment to science, his demonstrated empathy and compassion for others and his overall direct approach,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt told Religion News Service in an interview.
 Janett I. Cordovés
- June 28, 2021
The following interview features Berto Aguayo, executive director and co-founder of Increase the Peace, a Chicago-based organization that tackles the root causes of violence through leadership development and community organizing.
John Seewer
- June 28, 2021
While their religious beliefs don’t forbid them to get vaccines, the Amish are generally less likely to be vaccinated for preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough. Though vaccine acceptance varies by church district, the Amish often rely on family tradition and advice from church leaders, and a core part of their Christian faith is accepting God’s will in times of illness or death.
Carrie Antlfinger
article - June 17, 2021
Members of Black communities across the U.S. have disproportionately fallen sick or died from the virus, so some church leaders are using their influence and trusted reputations to fight back by preaching from the pulpit.
Shauna Morin
article - June 8, 2021
The following interview features Imam Makram El-Amin, who has led the Masjid An-Nur (Mosque of Light) in Minneapolis for 25 years and serves as executive director of Al-Maa’uun, the mosque’s community outreach organization.
Shauna Morin
article - June 7, 2021
The following interview features Anthony Cruz Pantojas, co-chair of the Latinx Humanist Alliance, an affiliate of the American Humanist Association.
Shauna Morin
article - June 7, 2021
The following interview features Micah Fries, director of programs at the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network and director of engagement at GlocalNet.
BC-US--Jill Biden-Harlem Vaccination Site, 2nd Ld-Writethru
article - June 7, 2021
The church first started offering vaccine doses in January in an effort to boost the vaccination rates in New York City’s Black and Hispanic communities.