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Baptist church joins vaccination efforts, launches 'educate and vaccinate' sessions after services

First Institutional Baptist Church
Posted at 3:12 PM, Oct 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-17 20:14:02-04

PHOENIX — The effort continues to get more people vaccinated, including at Valley churches.

This is why First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix (FIBC) decided to launch “educate and vaccinate” sessions, immediately after each service.

Religious and medical leaders say representation is a good first step to help educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage them to get it.

Karen McKinney tells ABC15 it’s a blessing to be able to get the booster shot in her place of worship.

“It made it easier for me to not have to track it down. Set appointments,” she added.

McKinney says it makes it easier to trust that everything is going to be okay.

“There’s a lot that I’ve seen, and I’ve been through. My dad passed from COVID as well. So, it’s dear to me to make sure people are vaccinated and let them know that it’s real,” she told ABC15.

Dr. Nathan Delafield is a District Medical Group physician with Valleywise Health.

He says this is where representation and trust come into play.

“There’s a lot of vaccine hesitancy built on years and years of distrust to the healthcare system overall. Even as a black physician, I was not having the impact that I would hope to have on Black and brown communities, encouraging them to get vaccinated,” he said.

He says a lot of the time people tend to trust their friends, family, and even spiritual leaders.

Barampunde Mbaya is one of them. He came to get his second COVID shot right before service started.

“To protect our body, we have to get the shot,” said Mbaya.

Senior Pastor Warren H. Stewart Sr. says back in April, nearly 1,000 people got vaccinated at the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix.

He says this was a welcoming place then, and it continues to be now

“So, by us having the vaccinations here, people feel more comfortable, feel more confident, and they trust the process. If the church supports it, maybe I should support it. We’re doing the work of the Lord, by giving vaccinations,” Senior Pastor Stewart Sr. added.

Here’s their message to anyone who’s hesitant to get the shot.

“They have to take it because it is a protection,” said Mbaya.

“Vaccines are not only safe but they’re tremendously effective. We need to protect more people from this terrible virus,” added Dr. Delafield.

“Please get vaccinated,” McKinney told ABC15.