Several people remain unconvinced that religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines are necessary.

A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that most respondents believe religion has been overused to justify evading the vaccine.

"The wide berth allowed for the expression and practice of religions, codified in our Constitution and laws, are bedrock American principles," said PRRI CEO and founder Robert P. Jones in a press release. "But Americans also believe that principles of religious liberty are not absolute but rather should be balanced with the health and well-being of our communities."

The data gathered revealed that 59% of respondents, including majorities of every religious group except white evangelicals, believe too many people use religion to justify avoiding the vaccine.

In contrast, only 10% believe the teachings of their religion prohibit them from getting vaccinated.


PRRI found white evangelical protestants and protestants of color most likely to request religious exemptions for COVID-19.

The data come from Wave 3 of PRRI and Interfaith Youth Core's latest survey on religion and the vaccine.

The data also found that 60% of respondents believe there are no valid reasons to refuse the COVID vaccine, and 45% think no one should be granted a religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine.

That support diminishes significantly when the exemptions refer to children, as 54% do not support allowing religious COVID-19 vaccine exemptions for children.


Two-thirds (67%) of the vaccinated public agree with the statement that they are "angry at those who are refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and are putting the rest of us at risk." In contrast, 71% of the unvaccinated population claim they're "angry at those who think they have the right to tell me to get vaccinated against COVID-19."

Religious exemptions have become an increasingly contentious topic in recent months. Companies and states have taken measures since October to determine how they will handle requests for exemptions based on an individual's religious practice.