Worshipers trust their pastor on vaccine more than politicians and media, says Pew


A majority of regular worshipers in the United States say they would trust their pastor to provide advice on the COVID-19 vaccine, but a majority also say their own minister has remained silent on the matter, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The survey found that 61% of Americans who attend church services at least once a month say they would trust their own pastor to “provide advice on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.”

This level of trust is higher than that which the regular faithful have in their local elected officials (50%), their elected officials (49%) and the news media (41%) to provide advice on the vaccine.

“There is a relatively high degree of confidence in the clergy to advise on coronavirus vaccines,” Pew’s Justin Nortey and Mike Lipka wrote in an investigation analysis.

Regular devotees say they trust their primary care physician the most (84%) to provide vaccine advice.

But a slight majority of regular churchgoers say their church has remained largely silent on the issue, with 54% saying their pastor “hasn’t said much about the vaccine anyway.” In total, 39 percent of regular worshipers say their pastor encouraged participants to get vaccinated, while 5 percent say their pastor discouraged vaccination.

Yet the matter has received a wide range of treatment according to Christian tradition. For example:

  • 73 percent of regular believers in the evangelical tradition say their church has remained silent on the issue, compared to 54 percent of traditional Protestants, 52 percent of Catholics, and 34 percent of Christians in historically black churches.
  • 64% of regular worshipers in historically black congregations say their pastor encouraged people to get vaccinated, compared to 42% of Protestants, 42% of Catholics and 21% of evangelicals.
  • 4% of evangelicals say their pastor has discouraged the vaccine. This compares to 3% of Catholics, 2% of Christians in historically black churches, and 1% of major Protestants.

The survey, published on October 15, was conducted from September 20 to 26 among 6,485 adults.

Photo courtesy of: © Getty Images / Brian A. Jackson

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and current affairs for 20 years. His stories have been published in Baptist Press, Christianity today, The Christian Post, the Sheet-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.


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