10 Newark church leaders receive COVID-19 vaccine in effort to boost confidence among residents

Several Black clergy leaders in Newark received their COVID-19 vaccination Monday in effort to boost confidence among residents living in the city.

News 12 Staff

Feb 16, 2021, 2:07 PM

Updated 1,245 days ago

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Several Black clergy leaders in Newark received their COVID-19 vaccination Monday in effort to boost confidence among residents living in the city.
Ten church leaders lined up and rolled up their sleeves inside Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, and all were in agreement with their stated mission.
"We need to make sure that people are getting vaccinated,” says Reverend Dr. David Jefferson.
Jefferson is leading the charge to push back against the myths or doubts surrounding the vaccine within the community, or the lies on social media keeping people in minority neighborhoods from getting the vaccine. Pastor Max Johnson will readily admit he initially wanted no part of it.
"You hear about all of these side effects somebody on TV took the shot and went into convulsions,” says Johnson. “But after I know Pastor Wilke took the shot, I prayed, and I'll take the shot, too. That’s why I’m here."
Statewide among people who've take the shot – 4% are Black, 5% are Latino and 6% are Asian. Clergy members want to boost those numbers.
On Wednesday's, vaccines will be offered at Metropolitan Baptist. Shabazz High School will offer vaccination on Thursday and Friday and on Monday and Tuesday, East Side High is hosting. It's a program run by St. James Health, which has already vaccinated over 1,200 people, and they've already been working to gain trust and educate through their testing program.
"When we go into senior housing, we've been testing those same seniors since June,” says Nicole Fields, with St. James Health. “We are sending our same staff there because they know our staff."
Much of the effort depends on supply. St. James will have 300 more doses delivered Tuesday, but clergy are demanding even more from the state. 
 The program is only open to Newark residents. If you're interested, you'll need to set up an appointment through St. James Health. There are already 1,000 people registered and waiting


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