Pastors encourage black community to get COVID-19 vaccinations

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A group of African-American pastors is teaming up with Lafayette Consolidated Government to encourage the black community to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“I promise you it will be a help to us,” said Bishop Alton Gatlin, of Gethsemane Church of God in Christ. “It will help slow down what is happening in the African-American community.”

“It is so important that we do everything we possible can to live,” said Vanessa Winbush-Gatlin, of Gethsemane church of God in Christ. “He came so we might have life. Get vaccinated today so we can live, and enjoy this life.”

A group of local pastors want to show everyone the vaccine is available and safe. They got the shot at the Clifton Chenier Center Public Health Building on Friday. LCG’s Chief of Minority Affairs Carlos Harvin says this group wants to set an example for the African-American community to not be afraid of the vaccine.

“Many of our people look to their spiritual leaders, their pastors, that we step out on faith,” said Harvin. “We come and get the vaccine. We’re setting the example of how we can save lives in our communities.”

Louisiana Department of Health Region 4 Director Dr. Tina Stefanski says blacks are getting vaccinated at a lower rate than whites, due to access and trust of the vaccine. She says the vaccine should be available in a equitable fashion. That’s why they are setting up vaccination clinics in neighborhoods so the vaccine is easily accessible.

“I greatly appreciate all of the work the Lafayette Consolidated Government Equity Task Force, first with testing, and now with vaccination efforts, to make sure we offer this vaccine in an equitable fashion,” said Stefanski. “We want everyone to have access.”

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