“l Iook at myself and say, ‘Have I failed in my role as a public communicator?’” he said.
Haarsma said she understands that some resistance to vaccines and boosters has nothing to do with evangelicalism.
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“There’s some people who were vaccinated once and had a bad reaction, so they didn’t want their second shot or didn’t want the booster,” she said in the joint interview with Collins. “And I’d like to explain to them that, hey, getting another shot could really help you and you might not have a bad reaction again.”
Her organization has online resources about the pandemic — including a February 2021 article on Christians and vaccinations that has been viewed half a million times — and has developed a curriculum on faith and science for Christian high schoolers and home-schoolers.
A recent study published by the National Academy of Sciences indicates that after some unvaccinated Christians heard from medical experts who shared their religious identity — including Collins and BioLogos — they said they intended to receive the vaccine, that they would encourage others to as well and that they had increased trust in those experts.
Collins explained that the researchers compared a group that was given factual information about the safety of the vaccines and another that received the same information along with a short video clip of Collins identifying himself as a scientist and a Christ follower.
“I was pretty astounded by that,” he said, adding that the findings indicated that “unless that truth comes at you from somebody you trust, you’re not going to call it truth at all.”
In the webinar, Haarsma mused that different public health messaging earlier in the pandemic might have averted some of the current resistance and mistrust.
This article originally appeared here.