For many, the decision to get vaccinated or not is a political one. But what role does religion play in this decision? In Idaho, the two largest religious groups are evangelical Protestants (21%) and Mormons (19%). To gain a better understanding of how faith may be influencing vaccine acceptance in the state, Idaho Matters recently interviewed Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Jana Riess, a columnist who writes about the Mormon Church for Religion News Service. The two guests discussed how religious beliefs can shape people's views on vaccinations.
Mr. Kim noted that many evangelicals are concerned about the safety of vaccines and may be hesitant to get vaccinated due to their beliefs. He also pointed out that some evangelicals may be more likely to accept vaccines if they are presented as a way to protect others from harm. Ms.
Riess discussed how the Mormon Church has been encouraging its members to get vaccinated. She noted that the Church has issued statements encouraging members to get vaccinated and has even offered to provide transportation for those who need it. Additionally, the Church has been providing resources to help members understand the science behind vaccines and make an informed decision. It is evident that religion plays an important role in vaccine acceptance in Idaho.
While some religious groups may be hesitant to get vaccinated due to their beliefs, others are actively encouraging their members to get vaccinated. It is essential for public health officials to understand these differences in order to effectively communicate with different religious groups and ensure that everyone has access to accurate information about vaccines.