The Covid-19 Vaccine and Religion


Skye-Bryana Tambi

The topic of the Covid-19 vaccines in relation to the religious faiths in the United States has been a controversial, but not unique, topic. According to Deepa Shivarman, from NPR news, and a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), “10% of Americans believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine conflict with their religious beliefs” (Shivaram, Dec. 9, 2021 ).

The largest reason for religious-based refusal for the vaccine stems from one misconception; the misconception that vaccines contain aborted fetus lines. In actuality, the fetus lines are used to make the vaccine but are not actually in the vaccine. According to Nebraska Medicine, “Using fetal cell lines to test the effectiveness and safety of medications is common practice because they provide a consistent and well-documented standard”(Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain aborted fetal cells, Aug. 18, 2021). Nebraska Medicine further states that the aborted fetus lines are cost-effective, easy to use, provide an unlimited supply of material, and bypass ethical concerns associated with the use of animal and human tissue. However, the use of the overall use of aborted fetus lines is still deviant from some religious faiths.

Shivaram states that 59% of Americans say too many people are using religious beliefs as an excuse not to get vaccinated; shown as a result of a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC). Arthur Caplan, a bioethics professor at New York University Langone Medical Center, states his view on the issue: “There’s a lot more drugs, vaccines, and medicines you should not be taking and protesting if you’re really worried about these fetal cells being used,” Caplan said. “I don’t think most of this is sincere. I think it’s just a way to get out of having to take a vaccine.”

However, the leaders of various faiths have been effective in encouraging vaccination. “There is some evidence that faith-based approaches could encourage parents to get their children vaccinated. Just 16% of parents overall who are vaccine-hesitant or who refuse to get their kids vaccinated say they would be influenced by a faith-based approach,” Deepa Shivaram, from NPR News, states. Evidently, more people of certain religions get vaccinated when their religious communities encourage it.