Pastor: churches have role to play in vaccination

Boston Statehouse

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BOSTON (WWLP) – When a van from the Whittier Street Health Center set up a mobile COVID-19 test site at the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Dorchester, Rev. Miniard Culpepper said, 250 people would line up to get tested there on some nights.

During a livestream discussion on equity in vaccine distribution, hosted Saturday by Sen. Ed Markey, Culpepper said he and others are now talking about a similar model for vaccination that would take place at different churches.

Culpepper said that in communities with a legacy of mistrust in the government, churches and faith leaders often play important roles.

“If anyone is going to speak truth to power and truth to our people, it’s the pastors,” he said.

Aside from potential distribution sites, Culpepper said faith organizations can also be a source of education, including around who is eligible for vaccines and when.

He said he got his shot with a group of other pastors — clergy members who work with patients became eligible in the first phase of the state’s vaccine plan.

“These pastors didn’t even know they were in Phase 1,” Culpepper said. “There really has to be an education piece so that we can educate folks about what phase they’re in,” he said.

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