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Churches help reduce racial gap in vaccination rates, hesitancy and myths

'This vaccine right now is best for the community,' says a pastor
Posted at 11:06 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 23:06:25-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Vaccination hesitancy in communities of color is easing, but slowly. The Kaiser Family Foundation (FFF) reports 32-percent of Hispanics in Florida have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The number stands at nine percent for Blacks. Still, both numbers are fueling a campaign to build confidence in the vaccine in some of the most unlikely of places.

The sanctuary inside Manifest Church West Palm Beach is empty but executive pastor Charlotte Wright refuses to ignore the health and mindset of 1,500 members in West Palm Beach and Miami.

”Manifest church is a community church. And so we will always have the platform for what is best for the community,” Wright said. “This vaccine right now is best for the community.”

In fact, studies show this thinking is increasing. More churches have become a place to talk spiritual health and trusted science. It’s also motivating congregants like West Palm Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta president Denise Williams.

“Our chapter’s theme this year is vitalizing influential relationships and leverage,” Williams said. “We’re a membership of 257 who are leveraging. Each one, teach one. There’s numbers. We’re getting the numbers out. And we recognize we have to do our part to get to herd immunity.”

Williams who is a member of Manifest is also the president of a sorority founded on social action principles.

“We’re a community service organization,” Williams said. “We don’t just meet to meet. We’re a sorority that affects change.”

On Sept. 18 the chapter will host a vaccination clinic at Manifest Church West Palm Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. entitled, Kings, Queens and Vaccines Day Party. The event is in partnership with Manifest Church and the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. There will be free food, live DJ, give-a-ways, and as well as both the Pfizer (FDA approved) and Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The first 50 people to get vaccinated will receive a gift card. And minors 12 years and up must have their parent/legal guardian present to provide consent to be vaccinated.

”Right now this is a crucial, crucial moment,” Wright said. “We trust science. And we also believe God will use people to provide this vaccine for us so that we can live.”

Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be administered by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County in partnership with County Fire Rescue. If your church, organization, corporation, or business would like to host a mobile vaccination clinic submit the mobile vaccination event request form by visiting here.

Note: Please ensure these minimum requirements are met prior to making a request:

  • At least 20 confirmed patrons receiving vaccine (for corporations requesting on behalf of staff/clients)
  • Parking clearance for the Mobile Clinic Bus & Tents:
    • 50 feet long
    • 25 feet wide
    • 13 feet height (bus only)
  • Two hour minimum for event*
  • Eight hour maximum for event

*Event times will range between 2 and 8 hours depending on the number of patrons receiving a vaccine.

More resources and information can be found here.

To register for the Kings, Queens, and Vaccines Day Party, visit here.