Chicago ministers publicly get COVID vaccine to reduce hesitancy in minority communities

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some local faith leaders made a very public hospital visit to get the COVID vaccine in hopes of reducing hesitancy Black and brown communities.

"I felt the natural pinch, but we believe in science, we have our faith but we believe in science," said Rev. Marshall Hatch.

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The ministers are among 130 faith and community leaders who got their shots at Rush University Medical Center's Community Vaccination Day.

"To help smother some of the false information," Rev Cy Fields said as to why he took part. "We have to lead the way."

Rush VP of Community Health, Equity and Engagement said the hospital held the vent because they know there is vaccine hesitancy in Black and brown communities, which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they want those communities to know it's OK.

"You see a pretty sizeable racial gap," said James Druckman, political scientist at Northwestern University.

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Druckman is one of the authors of a recent study looking at who is resistant to getting the COVID vaccine.

"About 20% of non-minorities, or possibly 15% of non-minorities, state that they would never get a vaccine, which we would call extreme vaccine resistance," he said. "Whereas among minorities, particularly African Americans, that vaccine resistant number edges toward 40%."

Rev. Ira Acree acknowledged he had some reservations about getting the vaccine. Then he talked to his doctor.

"She gave me personal advice," he said, "and said, please do it for yourself and your community."

The faith leaders hope people in the congregations and communities see them, and that their actions will speak louder than words.
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