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Black churches become vaccine hubs

February 24, 2021

Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.’s All Nations Baptist told AP.


  • “The church, and particularly the Black church, is essential. … That’s what pastors do.”
  • The Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. has been designated a “faith-based vaccination partner,” with a portable vaccination trailer set up in the church’s parking lot twice a week, AP notes.

The big picture: Many Black seniors vividly remember medical exploitation horrors such as the Tuskegee syphilis study.

  • Peer-to-peer exchanges matter: “[T]hey’re hearing from congregants … who can speak to them about what they know and what they believe about the science and research and the value of taking a vaccine shot,’’ UAB School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers told USA Today.

Between the lines: Black seniors also struggle with online registration systems and sitting on hold only to be informed that all appointments had been filled.

The bottom line: “In the spirit of love, keep at it until you get your vaccination,” Rev. Wallace Charles Smith told his congregation in D.C.

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