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 - June 7, 2021
This article is part of a series called Faith in the Field that explores responses to Covid-19—including vaccination efforts—within different faith communities. 
Mary Ellen Giess
article - June 7, 2021
Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, talks about the Catholic response to the pandemic.
Eboo Patel, Mary Ellen Giess, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
article - June 3, 2021
Two thousand volunteers of diverse faiths will engage people through their religious communities.
Shauna Morin
article - May 26, 2021
In March 2021, IFYC and PRRI released findings from a recent survey on religion and the COVID-19 vaccine. The study revealed that, among Black Protestants, attending religious services is positively correlated with vaccine acceptance.
Eboo Patel and Robert P. Jones
article - May 24, 2021
Residents of many of the most vaccine-hesitant areas in the United States turn out to be remarkably receptive to faith-based interventions.
Emily McFarlan Miller
article - May 20, 2021
Written in epidemiologist Emily Smith’s friendly, informational voice, the Facebook page has grown to more than 96,000 followers.
Tasmiha Khan
- May 14, 2021
Studies show that Black communities are severely impacted by COVID-19 and police violence, but Black Muslims are often erased from the picture.
Elaine Krebs
- May 13, 2021
Deciding to get vaccinated was an easy decision for me, not only because I want to visit my grandmother and other relatives, but because I believe it is the right thing to do in accordance with my Catholic faith.
Melissa Jenkins
article - May 12, 2021
North Carolina is not alone in regard to macro-level efforts by state governments to increase access to vaccines, subverted by micro-level actions by individuals.