On Monday (Jan. 25) St. John Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Michael Chapman, was one of eight churches across the state to hold a one-day clinic offering the COVID-19 vaccine to members of its Goodell Street congregation. A reported 250 vaccinations were administered. It was part of a state campaign to get people to trust the COVID-19 vaccine.
In response to the question as to why the state was conducting the clinics amid widespread shortage of the vaccine, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who visited the site, said it was designed to “build confidence” in the vaccine in communities of color where there was widespread mistrust skepticism due to historic injustices.
“As an African American I can tell you that we’re trying to do some myth busting,” Executive Director of Community Health Center of Buffalo Lavonne Ansari told Channel 2 News.
“We’re no different than anyone else in that we want to be educated about the vaccine, and that once we are educated, we can make the decision of whether we want to take the vaccine or not for ourselves.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a video message to Black churches across the state last weekend urging members to get vaccinated.
Back in September Gov. Cuomo called the safety and effectiveness of t he vaccine – which at the time was being promoted by the rump administration under Operation Warp Speed into question.
He has since changed his tune. “We all need to trust the vaccine,” he said in his pre-recorded message.
In a related press statement he assured: “We will not allow communities of color and low-income neighborhoods in healthcare deserts to be left behind when it comes to the COVID vaccination effort.
Churches and cultural institutions are critical partners in this effort, and these eight sites will help get the vaccine to more eligible New Yorkers faster even as we contend with the federal government’s supply shortages.