Building trust, local church leaders encouraging Black and Hispanic populations to get vaccinated

BOSTON — Infectious disease experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, said there is a need to build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines and persuade the Black and Hispanic communities to get vaccinated.

Local Boston area church leaders are putting their faces out front and center to discuss why people in the Black and Hispanic communities should get vaccinated. The strategy they’re using is social media and any form of broadcast.

“It’s important that our people see us taking the vaccine to encourage and lift them up,” said Reverend Miniard Culpepper, a senior pastor of the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

From the halls of the Whittier Street Health Center, church leaders are getting involved by making a public service announcement, which will be seen in and around the Boston area.

“Add that onto the front part of our morning worship service,” said Pastor Leroy Mahoney, from First Baptist Church in Saugus.

Boston 25 asked them why there is mistrust around the COVID-19 vaccine in the African-American population?

“We always had that skepticism. Unimaginable guinea pigs, the way African-Americans have been utilized in regards to the Tuskegee experiment many, many years ago,” said pastor Gerald Bell from the Shiloh Baptist church.

Local leaders say, at first, they were indifferent about getting the COVID vaccine.

“This vaccine is going to save lives, and it might be one of their lives that the vaccine may save you,” Culpepper said.

And education is key.

“Keep wise council, don’t follow conspiracy theories. stay close to your primary care physicians,” Bell said.

Boston 25 also spoke to the health care director at Whittier Street Health Center. He said so far, for all the shots he has administered, he’s seeing only typical soreness for a day or two. Very rarely has he heard about people getting a fever, chills and so forth. But, overall, they want everyone to feel comfortable.

What about the people that can’t afford health insurance? Whittier Street Health Center representatives said anyone and everyone can come in and it will be free, once it’s available.

For others, transportation is also an issue. We learned that the Whittier Street Health Center workers are currently going around in a van to test people for COVID-19, and when Phase 2 begins, they will even begin vaccinating people. Hard working men and women are out there keeping our communities safe.

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