Font Size
Vaccination. Public domain image via
Religion and Vaccine Hesitancy
April 30, 2021
While the Biden Administration celebrates 200 million vaccines, we look at the religious groups who are resisting, and why public health appeals may be missing the mark.
Covid vaccination card. Public domain image by E. J. Hersom United States Department of Defense.
Bilingual Volunteers Support Neighbors Hardest Hit by Covid-19 April 30, 2021
Margo can’t travel but she can speak Spanish and she is fully vaccinated.  This week’s episode begins with her volunteer efforts to register residents in Montgomery County Maryland waiting for a food distribution event to begin at the Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Maryland.
Rev. Diana Wingeler-Rayo. Image courtesy Hughes United Metodist Church
A Pastor Urges Neighbors to Put Faith in Vaccine Science and Trust God April 30, 2021
Early in her career, Diane Wingeler-Royo was a nurse and public health promoter in Nicaragua.  Today, she cites that experience as fueling her efforts to help her neighbors overcome vaccine hesitancy.  

Today, Wingeler-Royo is the Lead Pastor of Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton, Maryland.  She spends a lot of time talking to people and listening to understand the fear and misinformation fueling vaccine resistance. She says it’s complicated. Some are afraid because of conspiracy myths circulating online. While for others, it’s theological. But overwhelmingly she hears that far too many struggle to navigate the language barrier and the online portals.  

Her strategy -- organize, partner, and bring the vaccine and opportunities to register and learn about ways to stay healthy to her church. From food distribution to Zumba, Pastor Diana is, according to local leaders with the Latino Health Initiative, one of the most effective faith leaders in helping the county understand the nuances of reaching a community that has been among the hardest hit by Covid-19.

Rev. Diana Wingeler-Rayo
.Ordained elder at the Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton Maryland, with 25 years of experience in the United Methodist Church. Born in Nicaragua. she attended nursing school before becoming a minister.
Natalie Jackson, Ph.D. Image courtesy PRRI
New Poll Sheds Light on the Nuances of Vaccine Hesitancy and Refusal April 30, 2021
A new report from the Public Religion Research Institute sheds light on the role of faith-based efforts in combating vaccine hesitancy. Director of Research Natalie Jackson shares key findings on the relationship between one’s faith identity and attitude about the Covid-19 vaccine. Jackson also breaks down the difference between vaccine hesitancy among people of color, specifically Christians of color versus hesitancy between white Evangelicals and Republicans, and what religious interventions might sway those who are hesitant.

We close with another conversation checking in with Pastor Diana three weeks after our initial meeting.  She shares how the pause in the  Johnson and Johnson vaccine has had a negative impact.  Many express fears about getting side effects now from the second vaccine. In her view, the most effective way to reach her neighbors is with trusted leaders.

Natalie Jackson, Ph.D. Director of Research at PRRI. Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oklahoma and a postdoctoral associate at the Duke University Initiative on Survey Methodology.