How Culture Wars Delay Herd Immunity: Christian Nationalism and Anti-vaccine Attitudes


Prior research demonstrates that a number of cultural factors—including politics and religion—are significantly associated with anti-vaccine attitudes. This is consequential because herd immunity is compromised when large portions of a population resist vaccination. Using a nationally representative sample of American adults that contains a battery of questions exploring views about vaccines, the authors demonstrate how a pervasive ideology that rejects scientific authority and promotes allegiance to conservative political leaders—what we and others call Christian nationalism—is consistently one of the two strongest predictors of anti-vaccine attitudes, stronger than political or religious characteristics considered separately. Results suggest that as Americans evaluate decisions to vaccinate themselves or their children, those who strongly embrace Christian nationalism—close to a quarter of the population—will be much more likely to abstain, potentially prolonging the threat of certain illnesses. The authors conclude by discussing the immediate implications of these findings for a possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine.


This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.