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Nearly 60% of white evangelicals have gotten COVID vaccine: poll

COVID-19, vaccine shot
A health worker delivers a vaccine shot into an arm in this undated file photo. |

A new poll suggests that nearly 60% of white evangelicals have received a coronavirus vaccine as the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to one of the vaccines. 

An NBC News poll asking Americans about their vaccination status found that 59% of white evangelicals, a group long portrayed as hesitant to take the vaccine, were fully vaccinated.

Just 13% of respondents told the news outlet that they had no plans to get the vaccine at any time.

The poll was conducted Aug. 14 through Aug. 17 and 1,000 adults were interviewed. The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

While white evangelicals were the only religious demographic highlighted in the NBC News report, other social groups in the report had lower vaccination rates.   

The group with the lowest vaccination rate was “Republicans who support [former President Donald] Trump more than party,” with 46% fully vaccinated. Other groups with low vaccination rates include those who voted for Trump in the 2020 general election (50%), Americans who live in rural areas (52%), Republicans (55%) and Americans between the ages of 35 and 49 years old (58%.) 

Meanwhile, Democrats had the highest vaccination rate of any other demographic subgroup, with 88% reporting that they have received the vaccine. Americans aged 65 and older, who find themselves particularly vulnerable to experiencing serious illnesses due to the pandemic, have a vaccination rate of 86%.

Additional groups with high vaccination rates include “Biden voters in the 2020 election” (91%), Democrats who supported either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in their party’s 2020 presidential primary (88%), Democrats who supported Biden in the 2020 primary (87%) and white college graduates (80%). 

The poll’s release comes as Trump, who won an overwhelming majority of the white evangelical vote in the 2020 presidential election, urged his supporters to get the vaccine at a rally in Alabama last weekend, a remark that elicited boos from the audience.

On Monday, the FDA gave its full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, one of several available in the U.S. The other coronavirus vaccines are available under emergency use authorization and still await full FDA approval.

White evangelicals’ views about the vaccine have received much attention over the past year. A poll conducted in March by the Pew Research Center revealed that white evangelicals were the least likely religious group to say that they planned on taking the vaccine. 

Supposed vaccine hesitancy among white evangelicals prompted “Saturday Night Live” to portray the religious demographic as “one of the biggest obstacles to herd immunity.”

However, a subsequent survey published in May found that secular Americans were less likely than their religious counterparts to have taken the vaccine. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Friday afternoon, more than 203 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, accounting for 61.1% of the U.S. population. More than 172 million Americans, or 51.9% of the U.S. population, are fully vaccinated.

The CDC noted: “Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19.” The government agency stressed that “there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people.” 

Following the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, vaccine mandates by businesses and government agencies are expected to increase. A poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group, released this week found that the American people are more likely to do business with companies that do not require their employees to take the vaccine.

A plurality of Americans (42.7%) said they were more likely to do business with companies that did not have vaccine mandates for their employees. Meanwhile, 34.3% of respondents indicated that they were less likely to do business with companies with no vaccine mandates.

Support for vaccine mandates correlated with partisan identification, with a plurality of Democrats (49%) less likely to do business with companies that do not have vaccine mandates and a majority of Republicans (55.5%) more likely to do business with such a company.

A study published in Nature Magazine in May found that those infected with coronavirus produce antibodies that will last for several months. Research has shown that the antibodies offer a similar level of protection as the vaccines. However, Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis, told the outlet that immunizations may still be needed to restore antibody levels with the emergence of COVID variants. 

The debate about the effectiveness of the vaccines has resurfaced now that the CDC has announced plans to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots in the fall. The booster shots would be available eight months after a person received the second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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