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Major religious groups and their stand on vaccinations

As the debate over COVID19 vaccinations continues, some people cite religious beliefs as a reason not to take the shot. Most religions have no prohibition against vaccinations, although some have considerations, concerns or restrictions regarding vaccination in general, particular reasons for vaccination or specific vaccine ingredients.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center complied a list of the beliefs of several religions and Christian denominations.

Buddhism – Buddhism has no central authority that determines doctrine. Vaccination is widely accepted in predominantly Buddhist countries.

Christianity – The Christian faith consists of multiple different denominations, which may differ in theological approach to vaccines. The following Christian denominations have no theological objection to vaccination:

  • Roman Catholicism
  • Eastern Orthodox
  • Oriental Orthodox
  • Amish
  • Anglican
  • Baptist
  • Congregational
  • Episcopalian
  • Lutheran
  • Mennonite
  • Methodist (including African Methodist Episcopal)
  • Quaker
  • Pentecostal
  • Presbyterian
  • Seventh-Day Adventist

Other major groups related to Christianity:

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints​ (Mormon)
  • Unitarian-Universalist

The following denominations do have a theological objection to vaccination

  • Dutch Reformed. This denomination has a tradition of declining immunizations. Some members decline vaccination on the basis that it interferes with divine providence. However, others within the faith accept immunization as a gift from God to be used with gratitude.
  • Faith Tabernacle
  • Church of the First Born
  • Faith Assembly
  • End Time Ministries

Church of Christ, Scientist – One of the basic teachings of this denomination is that disease can be cured or prevented by focused prayer and members will often request exemptions when available. However, there are no strict rules against vaccination and members can receive required vaccinations.

Hinduism – Hinduism has no prohibition against vaccines. While Hindus venerate cows, trace bovine components of certain vaccines have not been identified as a theological concern.

Islam – Islam has no prohibition against vaccination. There have been several gatherings of Muslim leaders, scholars and philosophers to address the theological implications of ingredients in food and drugs, including vaccination.

Jainism – Jains follow a path of non-violence toward all living beings, including microscopic organisms. Jains do allow cooking, the use of soap and antibiotics, and vaccination, because this destruction of microorganisms, even though regretted, is necessary to protect other lives.

Jehovah’s Witness — This group originally denounced vaccination, but revised this doctrine in 1952. An article in a recent issue of the church’s newsletter promotes vaccination to avoid infectious diseases.

Judaism – Judaism supports vaccination as an action to maintain health and also as a parental responsibility to protect children against future infection.

Scientology — Rev. John Carmichael of the Church of Scientology stated that there are no precepts or strictures about vaccinations within Scientology.

In the United States, the Supreme Court has upheld an individuals right to abstain from vaccinations on religious grounds.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice