WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Doctors and churches are trying to ease concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine in vulnerable communities.
Novant Health is working with faith-based organizations in Winston-Salem to provide clinics in underserved zip codes to help reach more people.
“We understand that our community is suffering from the COVID virus at alarming rates,” said Bishop Sir Walter Mack, the pastor of Union Baptist Church.
The bishop hopes that will change through a new partnership with Novant Health.
Union Baptist Church is stepping in to help distribute vaccines. The health system and church are working to expand access and address a history of racial deception and discrimination in medicine.
“We are trying to do some educational forums through bible study, through teachings, and bring on health experts to help dispel some of those ideas about the miseducation of those matters,” Mack said.
He believes it’s important to share that Black doctors were in the rooms where vaccines were developed and approved.
“This vaccine has been produced by an African American woman and I believe that this particular vaccine is here so that people can live and survive COVID-19,” Mack said.
Mack says providing a vaccine clinic in the church offers a location close to home, in a trusted environment.
“When you come to a local church, they are around people that they know themselves. So, it’s like a family environment. You are not doing it on your own. You are with family, you are with friends, with community that you know,” Mack said.
Church leaders want people to get their lives back to a place of normalcy and they are happy to be a part of the solution.
“I believe that this is a step that needed to happen to make sure that the community gets this vaccine and on the way to a healing that needs to happen for our nation,” Mack said.
Union Baptist Church is one of three churches in Winston-Salem partnering with Novant Health. The health system is doing a rotation and servicing one church per weekend.