Acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine has increased 11 points among white evangelicals since March, according to a new survey of Americans that shows support for the vaccine has increased across the board, including subgroups on the right.
The survey of 5,123 adults by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core was conducted in June and shows that 56 percent of white evangelicals either have received the vaccine or plan on getting it. That’s an increase from PRRI’s survey in March when only 45 percent answered that way.
Republicans and Fox News viewers saw even larger jumps in vaccine acceptance. Among adults who identify as Republican, 63 percent either have received the vaccine or plan on getting it — an 18-point jump from March, when it was 45 percent. Viewers of Fox News also saw an increase in vaccine acceptance, from 54 percent in March to 64 percent today.
Among all U.S. adults, 67 percent say they have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and another four percent say they plan on receiving it.
According to the latest CDC data, 69 percent of adults have received at least one dose, and 60 percent are fully vaccinated.
“The survey data reveal a remarkable shift among Americans from vaccine hesitancy to acceptance, across almost every demographic,” Natalie Jackson, the director of research at PRRI, said in a news release.
Still, white evangelicals remain the leader in vaccine refusal among religious subgroups, with 24 percent — a two-point decrease from March — saying they won’t get the vaccine.
Another 20 percent of white evangelicals say they’re hesitant to get the vaccine.
But the data shows unvaccinated evangelicals could be swayed: one-third of those who have not received the vaccine say a faith-based approach to the vaccine could change their mind.
“Faith-based approaches have been and will continue to be effective in convincing Americans to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” IFYC founder and president Eboo Patel said in a news release. “As we examine exactly what it is that is working in encouraging Americans to get vaccines, it is clear that community-based interventions are critical. By working together to encourage vaccination among hesitant populations, we are saving lives.”
PRRI said the March and June polls are the “largest surveys on religion and COVID-19 to date.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.