“One of the things we’ve been concerned about from the very beginning is the distribution of the vaccine in the Black community,” he said. Additionally, Black people have suffered disproportionately in the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
Many churches that went solely online during the pandemic are starting to hold in-person worship services again. Many are leaving it to congregants to determine if they want to wear masks. “We’re very concerned when we hear some people say they’re not going to get the vaccine,” Jackson said. “We say that if you don’t get it, it’s a disservice not only to them but their families and community.”
Half of U.S. adults over 18 are fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Rev. Ralph L. Thompson Jr., chairman of the Black Congregational Development for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church and pastor of Columbia Drive United Methodist Church in Decatur, admits he was initially hesitant about getting the vaccine.
His fears, though, were allayed after he spoke with health care professionals and did his own research.
“The evidence is overwhelming that the virus is real and it’s killing hundreds of thousands of people. The only way society can get back and return to its former state is if people get vaccinated. It makes good economic sense.”
Faith leaders, he said, can “lead the charge. Trust science and put your faith in God.”