‘This vaccine is going to save lives’: Local faith leaders leading the way by getting vaccinated

BOSTON (WHDH) - Pastors rolled up their sleeves in Roxbury on Friday to help build trust in the vaccine within their communities.

Pastors Miniard Culpepper and Gerald Bell doled out congratulatory fist bumps after getting their COVID vaccinations at the Whittier Street Health Center.

“I really want the community to know that this vaccine is going to save lives and it just might be one of their lives that the vaccine might save,” Rev. Miniard Culpepper who serves Pleasant Hill Baptist Church said.

The pastors are trying to set an example for people in communities of color that have been hit hard by the virus and may be reluctant to get vaccinated.

“A lot of my young people are concerned, that…concerns not warranted, like it was going to cause them to have something implanted in their body,” Rev. Leroy Mahoney of First Baptist Church said.

Lily Of The Valley Baptist Church’s Rev.Vivian Stephens-Hicks said her congregants are, “just afraid to get the vaccine. It’s just basically fear, some are not really even sure why they are afraid but just afraid to take the risk.”

Even medical professional are not immune to that fear. Boston Medical Center Emergency Physician Thea James said that even though she understands the science behind the vaccine, she was reluctant to get it herself.

“And I decided that although I was feeling helpless and struggling, the one thing I could do was take the vaccine,” Dr. James said. “And honestly, after the first shot, I felt 100 percent better. It was just a sense of relief.”

The pastors are urging everyone to follow the science.

“I haven’t been able to interact with newborn grandchildren. And one of the reasons being is that I didn’t have my vaccination,” Rev. Larry Green of the Timothy Baptist Church said. “I got it now, so to God be the glory.”

Whittier Street Health Center officials said they plan to launch a mobile COVID-19 vaccination program so they can get out into the community and vaccinate people where they are.

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