New Study Shows Large Vaccine Hesitancy Among White Evangelicals
New York, NY, April 1, 2021 - The Ad Council and COVID Collaborative today announced a new partnership in support of ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com, with a coalition that includes the National Association of Evangelicals, Values Partnerships, Public Square Strategies and Redeeming Babel. This effort will reach the evangelical community with information from trusted messengers about the COVID-19 vaccines. In the weeks and months ahead, ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com, with the support of the Ad Council, COVID Collaborative and other partners, will release new content, host events and work with media outlets to directly address the concerns of vaccine hesitant evangelicals. This work is a continuation of the Ad Council’s and COVID Collaborative’s It’s Up To You COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, in collaboration with Values Partnerships, and is designed to engage America’s diverse religious communities.
Research from the COVID Collaborative and Langer Research Associates released today found that 57 percent of evangelicals have taken, or intend to take, the vaccine, compared to 77 percent of non-evangelicals, a 20 percentage-point gap. Only 53 percent of white evangelicals, compared to 64 percent of racial and ethnic minority evangelicals, intend to get the vaccine or have done so. White evangelicals are twice as likely (30 percent) as racial and ethnic minority evangelicals (15 percent) to completely rule out getting vaccinated. Yet, the research also shows that there are ways of approaching concerns about the safety, efficacy and development of the vaccines that can be especially persuasive for building confidence among evangelicals. Like other Americans, evangelicals also look to their healthcare providers and family members as trusted messengers. This effort aims to build vaccine confidence with evangelicals, who represent 24 percent of the U.S. population.
“Since we launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, we have made significant strides in helping Americans find answers to their questions about the vaccines,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We know the important role faith plays in the lives of millions of people throughout the country and, with this critical effort, we are partnering with leading evangelical voices to address the concerns and hesitancy in their communities to ultimately increase confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.”
ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com is a project of Redeeming Babel, founded by Curtis Chang. Chang currently serves on the faculty of Duke Divinity School and as a senior fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is a former senior pastor, missionary and college ministry leader. ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com addresses the most common questions Christians have regarding the vaccines using biblical principles, and from that perspective, encourages Christians to get the vaccines. “The pathway to ending the pandemic runs through the evangelical church,” said Chang. "We are hopeful that our efforts can help Christians choose what is best for them and for their neighbor."
As part of the launch of this initiative, ChristiansAndTheVaccine.com will release exclusive interview content with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. Other trusted Christian leaders will be featured in future content.
Founded in 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) includes more than 45,000 local churches from 40 different denominations and serves a constituency of millions. The NAE provides resources, connection and influence to help evangelical leaders foster thriving communities and navigate complexity with biblical clarity.
Walter Kim, NAE president, said, “Of course people have questions about the vaccines — possible side effects, its efficacy or newness. We get that. But a careful look at the science behind the vaccines is convincing, and the Christian ethic to love is compelling. Our hope is that together we can help provide clarity to this complex issue.”
Joshua DuBois, CEO of the Values Partnership and former Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under President Obama, and John Bridgeland, Co-Founder and CEO of COVID Collaborative and former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council that oversaw President George W. Bush’s White House Faith-Based Initiative, said: “Americans want good information from trusted sources and are a compassionate people, particularly in times of crisis. Faith-based institutions, paired with medical expertise, are powerful intermediaries to help engage Americans in their own rescue.”
The It’s Up To You COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, created in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ensuring all “It’s Up To You” messaging is rigorously vetted and backed by science, first launched in February. The campaign directs audiences to visit GetVaccineAnswers.org (DeTiDepende.org in Spanish) to get the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines, with the ultimate goal of helping the public feel confident and prepared to get vaccinated once a vaccine is available to them.
About The Ad Council
The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, starting in the organization's earliest days during World War II to September 11th and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Its deep relationships with media outlets, the creative community, issue experts and government leaders make the organization uniquely poised to quickly distribute life-saving information to millions of Americans.
The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation's most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.
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About COVID Collaborative
COVID Collaborative, a project of UNITE, is a national assembly of experts, leaders and institutions in health, education and the economy and associations representing the diversity of the country to turn the tide on the pandemic by supporting federal, state and local COVID-19 response efforts.
The COVID Collaborative is co-chaired by former Governor and U.S. Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) and former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) and led by CEO John Bridgeland and President Gary Edson. COVID Collaborative includes expertise from across Republican and Democratic administrations at the federal, state and local levels, including former FDA commissioners, CDC directors, and U.S. surgeon generals; former U.S. secretaries of Education, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services; leading public health experts and institutions that span the country; the Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the NAACP, UnidosUS and the National Congress of American Indians; the Skoll Foundation, The Allstate Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation; and associations representing those on the front lines, from the American Public Health Association and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools. Tim Shriver is Chairman of UNITE.