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Vaccinated Americans say they're angry at those who refuse to get a shot, survey says


Now we have news of one of the points of friction in this country - vaccinated Americans are losing patience with people who claim religious exemptions in order to avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Their loss of patience is tracked in a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute. Here's Megan Myscofski of Arizona Public Media.

MEGAN MYSCOFSKI, BYLINE: The study finds that two-thirds of vaccinated Americans say they're angry at those who refuse to get vaccinated and that they're putting the general population at risk. Robert P. Jones leads the institute. He says the vast majority of those interviewed say the teachings of their religion don't prohibit followers from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. But most participants say that people with a history of refusing vaccines on religious grounds should be granted an exemption.

ROBERT P JONES: If there's a consistency there, they see that as kind of making it a legitimate claim, and not just one made for political reasons or other reasons.

MYSCOFSKI: The study also shows that evangelical Protestants are the only major faith group that had a majority assert that anyone who claims a religious exemption should get one. About 4 in 10 white evangelicals said they planned to ask for one.

Jones says the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are growing frustrated, and it's causing conflict within families

JONES: As people are making decisions about visiting relatives - Christmas, New Year's and the other holidays this season - this is coming to the fore.

MYSCOFSKI: The co-writer of the study is the nonprofit group Interfaith Youth Core. The president of the organization, Eboo Patel, says that when religious leaders make the case for getting vaccinated, congregations listen.

EBOO PATEL: So many people in diverse religious communities believe that our bodies were created by God and we need to cherish and protect those, and that we have an obligation to the common good.

MYSCOFSKI: Patel says that religious institutions and leaders continue to be key in the vaccination effort as the omicron variant spreads across the country.

For NPR News, I'm Megan Myscofski in Tucson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.