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Florida Faith Leaders Boost Vaccine Confidence Thru Campaign

Florida faith leaders will launch a new campaign to boost confidence on the Covid 19-vaccine.

The “Keep the Faith, Get Vaccinated Florida” campaign, led by nonprofit group Faith in Public Life, is coordinating with 100 faith leaders in Florida to spread the truth about the vaccine and encourage congregants to get inoculated, reports Jacksonville-based public media, WJCT. The campaign also offers support to volunteers who will disseminate information in their community.

That’s why ‘Keep the Faith, Get Vaccinated Florida’ is working with local faith leaders as trusted messengers to get out the word and build trust in the vaccine. —Joey McKinnon, Faith in Public Life Florida Director

“A basic tenet of faith communities everywhere is treating others how you want to be treated, and loving your neighbor is the right thing to do, and getting the vaccine, wearing a mask is just an expression of that,” said Faith in Public Life Florida Director, Joey McKinnon.

The Public Religious Research Institute found that vaccine acceptance varies among religious communities. In a research, the nonprofit group learned that 85% of Jewish Americans are the most accepting religious group in the U.S., followed by Hispanic Catholics (80%) and white Catholics (79%). The least accepting of the vaccine are Hispanic Protestants and white evangelical Protestants at 56%.

Meantime, in a Pew Research survey, it showed that half of white evangelicals and 59% of Black Protestants said they would not get the Covid-19 vaccine. Same with one-third of Catholics (32%) and white nonevangelical Protestants (35%), reports WebMD.

Experts said religious or racial background affects a person’s view of the vaccine. When reports claimed that one brand of the vaccine used fetal tissue or cells during its development, conservative Catholics and evangelicals were quick to denounce the pharmaceutical company and declared that they would not get vaccinated. This showed that the influence of faith leaders who publicly support Covid-19 vaccination is an important approach to get more Americans inoculated.

Pastor Marshall Mitchell of Salem Baptist Church in Abington, PA got vaccinated to help build trust in vaccines among the African American community. “I’ve probably encountered hundreds of people who are COVID-positive, and I was very fortunate to be designated as one of the frontline people.”

Despite the large percentage of people who do not want the vaccine, the PRRI noted that 38% of vaccine-hesitant Americans who attend religious services answered that a faith-based approach would make them change their minds about the vaccine and would most likely get vaccinated.

Mimi Kiser, senior program director of the Interfaith Health Program, said, “Focusing on trusted messengers such as religious leaders have been a part of every national public health strategy.”

McKinnon said, “That’s why ‘Keep the Faith, Get Vaccinated Florida’ is working with local faith leaders as trusted messengers to get out the word and build trust in the vaccine.”

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