Religion Unplugged

Americans favor religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines — to a point

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-in” features analysis, fact checking and top headlines from the world of faith. Subscribe now to get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox. Got feedback or ideas? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

What a difference a year makes.

Or not.

Fifty-two weeks ago, this news topped Weekend Plug-in:

Trump calls COVID-19 vaccine ‘a medical miracle,’ but many religious people are skeptical

Guess what? Many religious people remain highly skeptical of the vaccines, despite their strong effectiveness at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Which leads us to this week’s news: a new public opinion poll on religious exemptions to the vaccines.

Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins reports:

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A new poll reveals most Americans are in favor of offering religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccines, yet express concern that too many people are seeking such exemptions. In the same survey, more than half of those who refuse to get vaccinated say getting the shot goes against their personal faith.

The poll, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and Interfaith Youth Core and released Thursday (Dec. 9), investigated ongoing debates about COVID-19 vaccines as well as emerging divisions over whether religious exemptions to the shots should even exist.

According to the survey, a small majority (51%) of Americans favor allowing individuals who would otherwise be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to opt out if it violates their religious beliefs, compared with 47% who oppose such religious exemptions.

See additional coverage of the poll by the Washington Times’ Mark A. Kellner and NPR’s Megan Myscofski.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

%d bloggers like this: