MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – Some African American pastors in Mobile County rolled up their sleeves Tuesday to get the COVID vaccine.
They wanted to be an example for minority groups who may be hesitant to get one.
“They see us taking it, hopefully it’ll make them feel safer,” said Pastor David Frazier from Revelation Baptist Church.
Frazier was one of several Mobile County pastors to get the first dose of the COVID vaccine.
“If we can show a sign of supporting the vaccine then we feel it would be a benefit to the community, our parishioners,” he said.
A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that about one in three African Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated. The concern likely stemming from the Tuskegee Experiment.
The Mobile County Health Department hopes vaccinating religious leaders helps calm nerves.
“There’s a trust factor in everything we do in life and people trust their pastors,” said Dr. Bert Eichold with the Mobile County Health Department. “So, the pastors coming down and wanting to share this experience with the community is really beautiful.”
Tressler Laffiette was vaccinated alongside her husband who is a pastor. She got the first dose on the same day she said goodbye to a loved one who died from the virus.
“I just knew I wanted to do it and hopefully this inspires others that may be hesitant about getting it done perhaps they’ll see us as examples and want to do it as well,” she said.
The health department says this effort to make minority groups feel comfortable about the vaccine is an important one because they say they are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized with COVID as well as die from the virus.