WHEATON, Ill., April 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Jamie Aten and Kent Annan have started an online petition on Change.org encouraging fellow Evangelicals to get vaccinated against COVID-19. This is in response to a recent study by Pew Research which indicates that white Evangelicals lag behind other religious groups in the U.S. when deciding to get protected against COVID-19.
«If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,» said Jamie Aten in a recent interview with The New York Times.
The World Health Organization has named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten threats to global health. The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex, but lack of confidence in vaccine safety, driven by concerns about adverse events, has been identified as one of the key factors.
Aten also told BBC News he wasn’t surprised by the research findings showing white Evangelicals reported being least likely to want the COVID-19 vaccine, noting factors like the historical tensions between faith and science, flux of misinformation, and mixing of Christianity and politics by some Evangelicals.
On vaccine hesitancy among evangelicals, Aten told NewsNation: «It’s become almost a sign of tribalism…there was this divide of, if you wear a mask or you don’t wear a mask, this must be the group you belong to. And I think we’re seeing some of that play out now with the vaccine.»
Yet, both Aten and Annan note that like other religious groups, Evangelicals are diverse, and many are in favor of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. «Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an opportunity to love our neighbors,» said Annan.
According to an interview with WBEZ Chicago, Annan shared that leaders in the church need to take the responsibility to speak truthfully and lovingly about COVID-19 vaccines seriously. He shared that another one of the ways Evangelicals can demonstrate God’s love during the pandemic is by humbly speaking truth about COVID-19 vaccine science and countering COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
Aten and Annan encourage Evangelicals to sign the petition and get vaccinated, as well as to do the following:
- Serve people in churches who need help getting a vaccine
- Sign-up to volunteer to provide COVID-19 relief
- Take part in an upcoming virtual Town Hall on April 28, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM CT
For more information about the petition, please visit: https://www.change.org/
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SOURCE Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College