One of the stereotypes conservative US members have to deal with is the idea that they click their heels and salute every time the Church makes a political statement, when anybody who’s had deep political discussions with them understands that there are multiple layers of nuances and influences built into their decision making process. Consequently, I can’t say that I was terribly surprised when vaccination rates didn’t seem to jump up in Utah when the Church very explicitly came out in favor of vaccines.
However, in the spirit of humbly pointing out something I did not expect, according to a survey recently released by research firm PRRI:
“Among religious groups, Hispanic Protestants and Latter-day Saints (Mormons) increased most in vaccine acceptance. Hispanic Protestants went from 56% vaccine acceptant in June to 77% in November, and Latter-day Saints similarly increased from 65% acceptance in June to 85% in November.”
Now, technically we can’t tease out causality for this increase, but given that the First Presidency came out with their statement between those two waves, the most likely scenario is that First Presidency statements can actually move the political needle among members. [As “John Mansfield” in the comments pointed out, this suggests that more than half of those in the Latter-day Saint community who did not accept vaccination before changed to being pro-vaccine].
Another interesting point from the survey, besides Jews we are the religious group most likely to agree with the statement “Because getting vaccinated against COVID-19 helps protect everyone, it is a way to live out the religious principle of loving my neighbors,” so the stereotype that Latter-day Saints are particularly anti-vaccine does not appear to be born out by the data.